On November 13, 2022, the Church celebrated the Feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patron Saint of Immigrants, and at the end of her jubilee year in honor of the 75th anniversary of her canonization.
Two of the CLINIC’s (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) affliliate organizations bear the name of Mother Cabrini: The St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance, which is part of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas and Cabrini Immigrant Services in New York City.
Cabrini Immigrant Services of New York City or CIS-NYC, remains close to the mission of Mother Cabrini in its location: after a recent office move, it is now located right in the building of the Mother Cabrini Shrine in the Washington Heights neighborhood.
Ella Nimmo, Director of Community Programs and Development, said that this location has allowed them an even closer relationship with the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, who founded CIS and several of whom still work at Cabrini Immigrant Services. Donations from pilgrims visiting the Shrine sometimes go toward supporting CIS-NYC, and sometimes immigrants who are visiting the Shrine will happen upon their office and request help. The Shrine staff often refer immigrants in need to visit CIS. CIS offers a wide variety of services for the immigrant community, from legal services to social support programs.
Beyond the outward connections to Mother Cabrini – its name, if founding by the Sisters, it location, Nimmo say CIS-NYC carries on the spirit of Mother Cabrini’s approach. “The Sisters often talk about Mother Cabrini having a sense of urgency about her, a ‘scrappy’ way of being,” Nimmo said. “If there was a need, Mother Cabrini was going to find a way to meet it. She would get things done. We try to take that approach, as well.” Nimmo said that CIS-NYC is always rising to the challenge of new developments facing immigrant communities in New York City. The biggest challenge for them lately has been finding a way to meet the needs of the thousands of migrants who have been bused to the city from Texas.
“We have helped at least 120 families from the buses so far,” said Nimmo. “It’s difficult because they are arriving with nothing – no contacts, no cell phones even, few job prospects, and often, no pathway to legal residency. We are having to be creative in how we help them and demonstrate support and solidarity.”
“The last few years have been really difficult, what with the pandemic and political changes,” Nimmo continued. “Now we have these migrant families arriving on buses from the border. Creating a supportive space for them amid these challenges is sometimes the most we can do. But we do all we can; we look for any source of support that we can provide, as we imagine that Mother Cabrini would have done.”
To read the complete article, please click here