Cabrini University celebrated Mother Cabrini’s 171st birthday in traditional fashion with cake, candles and ice cream.
Mother Cabrini’s 171st birthday was celebrated with great joy last Saturday at St. Frances X. Cabrini Shrine in Upper Manhattan. Joining us were a dozen Missionary Sisters, several lay collaborators from Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC and Dobbs Ferry, and hundreds of faithful families and friends. We had Mass with Bishop Gerald Walsh (English) and Bishop Josu Iriondo (Spanish), cake, mariachi, activities for kids, and a very, very good time.
And so it was that last Saturday, with a spring in our step and prayerful intentions in mind, we exited the F train at Carroll Street in Brooklyn and began our journey back in time.
We were focused on visiting 580 Henry Street, the old convent, where a few of us spent many happy, fun filled years teaching and serving the immigrants in this Italian community. We stood in front of 580 Henry Street, a beautiful brownstone, and looked up at the four floors above us and remembered. The first floor was the chapel; second floor the community room; third and fourth floors were the bedrooms. We laughed at how often we climbed the winding stairs and marveled at how some of the bedrooms had a perfect view of the Statue of Liberty. We wondered how all twenty-two Sisters could possibly squeeze into the small chapel.
On we trudged to our local parish, Sacred Hearts and St. Stephens, on the corner of Summit and Hicks Streets. “Wow”, we said in unison. “The church looks the same.” Statues of saints lined the sides of the church and red, votive candles flickered where fervent parishioners prayed that a special grace be granted to them. The windows were stained glass, one of them of Mother Cabrini in a place of honor toward the front of the church. This Italian community of Carroll Gardens has a special devotion to Mother Cabrini who walked these same streets, meeting and greeting newly arrived Italian immigrants, decades ago. We could almost feel Mother’s presence.
In addition to the treasures inside the church, we were fortunate to be able to admire the newly dedicated statue of Mother Cabrini, sitting right outside. Mother is with two young children, a boy and a girl and she seems content in their presence. We placed some flowers at Mother’s feet, took pictures and spent a moment or two in silent prayer
before we moved on.
This time we moved on down Henry Street toward Sackett Street, hoping to find a place to sit in the shade and eat something refreshing. Even walking these few blocks was a trip down memory lane. So many of the old brownstones looked the same, but in between these buildings we could spot some new construction that appeared very modern, almost out of place. And surprisingly, the streets were quiet for a Saturday afternoon.
Finally, we spotted an eatery, just what we were looking for. Farmacy is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor on the corner of Henry and Sackett Streets. We had to sit outside because sections inside were closed off because of Covid restrictions. Nonetheless, the outside was delightfully, cool and a perfect spot for enjoying hot dogs and ice cream sundaes topped with whipped cream and a cherry. “Ah”, we said.
The hours flew by and we each had a long trip home. So, off we went heading back toward the Carroll Street subway station and the F train. We admired the lovely brownstones and colorful gardens. And the stoops! Where else can you find stoops like these? We agreed, Carroll Gardens is a special place.
As we said good-bye to one another, Sister Christine Marie, Anne, Marilyn, Michael, Kate and I, we agreed that the day was perfect and we planned to make this pilgrimage a yearly, tradition.
~submitted by Marianne McGowan, CLM
To duly commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Canonization of Mother Cabrini at the Vatican on July 7, 1946, the members of the Cabrini University community gathered to offer a celebratory toast on this historic occasion. Holy Spirit Library Director Anne Schwelm provided a display of historic photos of the canonization for all to view during the ceremony.
Opening remarks were given by Angela Campbell, PhD, Vice-President of Mission, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Student Engagement. Dr. Campbell expressed her appreciation of and commitment to the Cabrinian mission and the many blessings it has afforded her.
Following her remarks, Sr. Christine Marie Baltas, MSC, Campus Ministry Associate, offered a toast giving thanks for the life of Mother Cabrini and the lay collaborators who continue the Cabrinian mission each day. Cheers!
~ by Chris Herlinger, Global Sisters Report
Editor’s note: This article appeared on the Global Sisters Report website on July 1. The article link was forwarded to Sr. Thérèse Merandi, MSC, who is currently missioned in South Sudan, for her reaction and commentary. Sr. Thérèse responded, “Very true and our lived reality.” Her further reflection follows this account.
Jubilation marked celebrations that caught the world’s attention 10 years ago when South Sudan formally became independent from Sudan on July 9, 2011, following a protracted, decades-long war of independence.
But this month’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of what is still the world’s youngest country is overshadowed by uncertainty, violence and ongoing humanitarian challenges.
“A decade later…pervasive insecurity – in particular intercommunal violence – continues to obstruct the realization of a durable and sustainable peace,” the United Nations News Service said in a June 21 report.
Sisters with experience in South Sudan agree and acknowledge these grave disappointments, particularly political and ethnic violence that has killed hundreds of thousands and caused more than 2 million to flee the country. As noted by the International Rescue Committee, South Sudan “enjoyed two years of fragile peace before political rivalry erupted once again into open conflict in 2013, leaving an estimated 380,000 dead and 2 million displaced. 2.2 million people have been forced into neighboring countries.”
“Corruption is endemic and intranational conflicts, economic collapse, crime and hunger ravage the
population,” said Sr. Joan Mumaw, president of Friends in Solidarity, the U.D. partner to Solidarity with South Sudan, a collaborative ministry of religious congregations of men and women.
“Flooding, drought, the pandemic, and you have a national tragedy and perhaps, a failed state,” said Mumaw, an IHM Sister of Monroe, Michigan.
To mark this anniversary, the Global Sisters Report asked sisters of various congregations to reflect and assess where the country stands now on a range of topics. Sr. Bakhita Francis, a Missionary Franciscan Sister of the Immaculate Conception, commented, “In 10 years after independence the country has declined drastically – it has become like stagnant water. The most serious issue is violence. South Sudan has a lot of potential if South Sudanese work together as a people to overcome the challenges of political power struggles, nepotism, land grabbing, the feeling that one group is superior to another, ethnic identity, child marriage and revenge killings.
Sr. Marilyn Lacey, Executive Director of Mercy Beyond Borders, commented, “The political leadership is riddled by greed, power-grabbing and corruption. There is, in fact, no real sense of a country at all. Until the various ethnic groups recognize advantages in working with one another instead of continuing the dominant “revenge culture”, there will never be peace in South Sudan.” To read the complete article, please click here
On July 7th we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Canonization of Mother Cabrini.
Following the exhaustive Vatican processes of beatification and canonization, Mother Cabrini was declared Blessed on November 13, 1938, and on July 7, 1946, Mother Cabrini became the first United States citizen to be canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
In the book, “Immigrant Saint” The Life of Mother Cabrini” by Pietro Di Donato, he writes of the canonization day, “On July 7, 1946, St. Peter’s wore a holiday appearance. It’s venerable and imposing pillars were decked with magnificent ancient damask hangings. Countless electric lights and candles were grouped around the pontifical altar…paintings depicting Mother Cabrini hung from the balconies. The activities in the Vatican began just after seven in the morning, when the Cardinals, patriarchs, Archbishops and other dignitaries who were to participate in the canonization began to arrive at the Sistine Chapel. Pope Pius XII entered the Sistine Chapel and intoned the Ave Maris Stella.
“The Pope made the following solemn declaration in Latin: “…we inscribe in the Catalogue of the Saints, the blessed Francesca Xavier Cabrini, ordaining that her memory be celebrated in the universal church on the Day of December 22, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.’”
In his homily the Pope said of Mother Cabrini, “Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed to be beyond the strength of a woman.” ~excerpt from “Immigrant Saint” The Life of Mother Cabrini by Pietro Di Donato
“Religious leader, business administrator and spokesperson for the downtrodden, Mother Cabrini was always a woman of compassion. Despite hardship, poor health and disappointment, Mother Cabrini’s peace of soul enabled her to radiate a joy born of unfaltering trust in divine providence. This total and unabashed trust in God was her outstanding personality characteristic and was the source of an inner strength, which propelled her to remarkable accomplishments in a relatively short amount of time. Some saw in Cabrini the embodiment of immigrant aspirations: to get ahead, to excel, to prove one’s self. Others, instead, attributed her achievements to the zeal of a saint.”
~ Sr. Mary Louise Sullivan, MSC, Ph.D., Mother Cabrini, “Italian Immigrant of the Century”
Cabrini of Westchester celebrated The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 11th with a special liturgy led by Pastoral Care Director, Fr. Thomas Vadakemuriyil in the Cabrini Chapel. We were fortunate that several Missionary Sisters and Cabrini Lay Missionaries were present. They were able to recite their vows and commitments in front of the few that were physically gathered in the chapel and the residents who were watching the Mass from their rooms via television.
A festive luncheon, prepared by Cabrini’s Food Service Department, was held in the Board Room for those Missionary Sisters that reside in the nursing home.
As a happy coincidence, Sr. Alfonsina Gomes celebrated her birthday on this day! Sr. Alfonsina lives in the Cabrini convent and ministers to the residents as a Pastoral Care Associate. After the Mass concluded, Sister was serenaded to the tune of “Happy Birthday” and a birthday cake was served at the luncheon!
A wonderful Feast Day was had by all!
June 12, 2021
By Erin DeGregorio, The Tablet
CARROLL GARDENS — It was a long time coming for the Diocese of Brooklyn to have its own Mother Cabrini statue, but the faithful finally got to see the final figure.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio unveiled and blessed the statue and shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini — also known as Mother Cabrini — outside her Brooklyn parish, Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen Church on June 11.
Members of Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, founded in 1880 by Mother Cabrini, were also in attendance. Once the sisters removed the red fabric from the monument, applause, Italian music, and red, white, and green confetti filled the air.
The statue features Mother Cabrini standing on a cobblestone street with two young children on either side of her. She is depicted at the age she was when she arrived in Brooklyn — approximately 40 years old — and wearing the habit of her order.
The design of the statue includes a variety of historical references, including on the brick base on which the statue will stand. The base also contains the cornerstone of the original church.
Mother Cabrini worked in Brooklyn after she and six other Cabrini Sisters arrived in the U.S. from her native Italy in 1889 and tended to immigrants in the original Carroll Gardens church, which is now the site of Mother Cabrini Park.
“The decision was that the statue should be placed in the parish where she worked here in Brooklyn first,” said John Heyer II, pastoral associate at Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen Parish. “She founded the first school for Italian immigrants here on all of Long Island, quite frankly, and the first for the Diocese of Brooklyn.”
Sister Antonina Avitabile, MSC was a member of the committee that helped bring the diocese’s statue to fruition.
“I think the parish and the Italians in the Brooklyn diocese will love it,” she said before the unveiling. “We put a lot of work into choosing it.”
Msgr. Guy Massie, pastor of Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen, noted the important messages the monument sends.
“It makes a statement to all immigrants that the church is with them and for them, particularly at this time in the history of the United States where there are such anti-immigrant feelings,” he explained. “And it is a great statement of the devotion that people have to Frances Cabrini, who lived right here in our parish.”
To read the complete account, please click here
To view the video, please click here
Cabrini Lay Missionaries (CLMs), Guadalupe Province, shared a beautiful Feast of the Sacred Heart and the celebration continued until June 13th.
On the Feast Day, we had a special prayer service, via Zoom. During the service, Adela Jarquin and Marianne McGowan, renewed their commitment to the CLMs for 3 more years. We are so grateful for their continued presence and their work toward the Cabrinian mission.
Following the renewals, five new CLMs made their initial commitment for 1 year. We are blessed to have Digna Merchan, Sheny Hinestroza, Susan Pierson, Veronica Hernandez-Perez and Victoria Ortiz-Perez begin their new journey as CLMs. Digna lives in New York, Susan in Pennsylvania and Sheny, Veronica and Victoria are from Guatemala. Each person received a certificate, their CLM handbook and a symbol, which is worn as a sign of being a CLM. They will be sharing more about themselves in the coming weeks in our CLM Corner in The Update.
We certainly did not let distance or a pandemic stop us from celebrating the gift of our new CLMs. On June 13th, we met again on Zoom. The Cabrini Sisters were invited to join us so they could meet our new members. We had Sisters from Colorado, Guatemala, New York, Pennsylvania and Nicaragua. It was a beautiful gathering as our new CLMs spoke about themselves and the amazing work that they are doing. A special blessing was prayed by all for our new CLMs. We pray that they will continue to bring the love of Christ to the world.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this such a special time for all our CLMs.
CLMs Await the Feast of the Sacred Heart
It is with great excitement that we look forward to celebrating the Feast of the Sacred Heart on June 11th. Not only is this day special to the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart (MSCs) but it is also a day that the Cabrini Lay Missionaries (CLMs) renew their commitments. This year, two of our CLMs, Adela Jarquin and Marianne McGowan, will be renewing their commitment for three more years! In addition to these renewals, we are blessed to have five people who will be making their initial commitment as a CLM!
This past year, a year of initial formation, those interested in becoming a CLM, have met monthly as a group. We had presentations about Mother Cabrini, the Institute, the different missions of the MSCs, the spirituality of the Sacred Heart and a discussion about the book, In Weakness, Strength by Segundo Galilea.
We have candidates from Pennsylvania, New York and Guatemala. It has been an exciting year as we learned about different cultures and the different ministries that everyone is involved in as well as having our meetings in English and Spanish.
Please keep all of us in your prayers as we prepare for a special celebration on June 11th.