On this date,
One hundred and thirty-three years ago, Mother Cabrini arrived in New York City to begin her ministerial work. “Their traveling expenses were paid by the Vatican Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Cabrini and her companions had come to New York ‘to help Italian immigrants.’”
It was specifically to attend to these neglected Italians that Cabrini had chosen to come to America. [At that time], a young woman, who soon joined the Missionary Sisters and assisted in their work for Italian immigrants, noted:
“I was seventeen years-old when I first met…[Mother Cabrini] the third day after her arrival in New York City. The first Sunday she was there I accompanied her and her Missionary Sisters to Saint Joachim’s Church…Mother Cabrini, with lively encouragement, sent me and other young people to visit the families of the parish and often she went herself. She hoped to attract boys and girls, the young people, entire families to religious instruction.”
Hearts aflame with love, Mother Cabrini and her sister companions began their parish ministry to the poorest of the poor in humble surroundings. The first sisters in New York and Missionary Sisters who later ministered in the U.S. experienced hard lives, but they prevailed. The first “Memorie” of New York, in 1899, recounts, “No one speaks of rest. Those who perhaps before were less used to doing such now clean, wash, scour…and undertake difficult and repugnant tasks without any signs of distress.” While their lives were difficult and they encountered prejudice, they were not unhappy. The sisters knew the joy of recognition and trust which came to them in the immigrant communities of New York and elsewhere. They were proud as the immigrants took heart, and elated when they frequented the church.
~ excerpts from Mother Cabrini, “Italian Immigrant of the Century” by Sr. Mary Louise Sullivan, MSC, PhD