On the 13th of this month we celebrate the feast day of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first United States citizen to be canonized a saint.
One of my favorite ways to learn about the saints and share our faith with my children is to take little pilgrimage trips while we are on vacation. Last November, while visiting my sister in Golden, Colorado, I saw an advertisement for the Mother Cabrini Shrine. Although we missed her feast day by two days, we decided to take our family for a visit, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. We had a wonderful experience attending Sunday Mass in the chapel and spent the morning on the grounds of the beautiful shrine, learning about this amazing saint.
Mother Cabrini was born in Italy is 1850, and her desire to be a missionary brought forth the birth of a new religious order, the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She immigrated to the United States in 1889 and helped the poor Italian Immigrants by establishing hospitals, schools and orphanages across the United States, Latin America and Europe. She had a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and her mission was to “bring the mercy that flows from the Heart of Jesus to every person we serve.”
At the shrine we celebrated Sunday Mass in the chapel with a large mosaic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We learned that Mother Cabrini spent 10 years in Colorado ministering to the Italian immigrants. She purchased a large piece of land that is now the shrine in Golden as a summer camp for the girls in her orphanage. The land was inexpensive because there was a shortage of water. This caused great suffering for the sisters, and when they complained, Mother Cabrini walked the land, came upon a red rock that she touched with her cane. She told the sisters “Lift that rock over there and start to dig. You will find water fresh enough to drink and clean enough to wash.” Sure enough, a spring was under the rock that has not stopped running to this day! We were able to drink from the spring water and many pilgrims have received healing from the water from this spring.
My children’s favorite part of the trip was the stairway of prayer. All six of us climbed 373 steps to the top of the mountain. Along the way are the Stations of the Cross and the Mysteries of the Rosary allowing you to meditate as you walk along the path.
At the top is a 22-foot statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! At the base of the statue, a reliquary is enclosed with a small relic of Mother Cabrini.
My youngest also loved climbing on top of the glass that encloses white rocks that are in the shape of a heart with a cross on top and the crown of thorns. Mother Cabrini and some children from the orphanage designed the “heart of stones” and it is still preserved today.
If you are traveling near Golden, Colorado, I would highly recommend a visit! As a bonus, the shine is a Year Of Mercy Pilgrimage site and the doors to the chapel are “Holy Doors.”
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Pray for Us!
Copyright 2016 Michele Faehnle