In a new world, another culture, without contacts or adequate funds, not knowing the language, Mother Cabrini set out to establish her mission.
She returned to Archbishop Corrigan and gained his support and friendship. He approved the house in which the Italian Countess di Cesnola wanted the new missionaries to live. On Palm Sunday of 1890, an orphanage for Italian children was inaugurated on the property, part of which the missionaries occupied as a convent.
A free school was established on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where the poorest italians lived. The Missionary Sisters taught catechism in the Italian parish of St. Joachim. All the while, Mother Cabrini with the sisters, constantly traversed the streets of the Italian district visiting families trying to help and guide them and trying to bring God nearer to them.
Saint Joachim Church
To support themselves and the orphanage the sisters had to beg for alms because the help they received from other women’s religious congregations and donations from wealthy individuals were not enough to support the growing number of orphans. Young women soon offered their help and some asked to join the Institute.
In July, 1890, when everything was in order in New York, Mother Cabrini went back to Italy with the first North American postulants for the novitiate in Codogno. She returned to Rome for an audience with Pope Leon XIII, who was fast becoming her good friend.