Woman of Grace: St. Frances Cabrini (1850 – 1917)

Through prayer we discover God’s perfect plan for our lives. Prayer is also how we find the courage to embark upon that plan, and the perseverance to bring it to completion. Such was the case with Mary Francesca Cabrini. This humble Italian woman founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, traveled to the United States to serve fifty thousand Italian immigrants by providing schools and orphanages for their children, and eventually established sixty-seven houses of sisters. Thus, she became the spiritual mother to many.

In the homily of her canonization, Pope Pius XII said,  “Undoubtedly she accomplished all this through the faith which was always so vibrant and alive in her heart; through the divine love which burned within her; and finally, through constant prayer by which she was so closely united with God from whom she humbly asked and obtained whatever her human weakness could not obtain.”

Mother Cabrini was born in Lombardy, Italy, the youngest of thirteen children, only four of whom survived. Although sickly and weak throughout her childhood, Frances was enamored with stories of missionaries, and dreamed of becoming one herself. At the age of twenty-two, she was turned away from a convent because of her health, so she went to a nearby orphanage to teach. After working for three years with the Sisters of Nazareth, who ran that institution, they allowed her to make her religious vows with them and she was appointed superior of the orphanage.

In 1888, Mother Cabrini received approval to start her own religious order, and was asked by Pope Leo XIII to go to America to care for the many Italian immigrants who had flocked to New York. Upon making the arduous journey in 1889, she was met with a lack of support, a language barrier, and a population discouraged and alienated from its Catholic roots. Nevertheless, she persisted in her call despite the many obstacles, and she began working wherever she could. Her first orphanage began with seven orphans.

Many stories are told about Mother Cabrini’s great faith and trust in God, which emanated from a life of prayer. In one story, Mother Cabrini was in need of property for an orphanage in Seattle. As she slept one night, Mother dreamed of a beautiful house that sat upon a big hill. The next day, Mother and two of her sisters were walking when a chauffeur-driven limousine drove by. Mother Cabrini flagged down the limo and asked for a ride back to the convent.

The woman riding in the limo was pleased to assist the sisters, and as they rode along, Mother Cabrini shared with the lady the dream she had the night before. When the party arrived at the convent, the lady told her: “Mother Cabrini, that house you dreamed of is mine. I never thought of parting with it, but if I may be allowed to enter your Holy House for a moment and receive a glass of water in the name of Our Lord, your little orphans shall have their home with my blessing.” Later, when asked how she had received such a beautiful piece of property, Mother Cabrini simply said, “I paid for it with three treasures: my love, a dream, and a glass of water in His Name.”

Truly, these words of Pope Pius XII aptly describe Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who proved that great things are possible for one who is led by the Spirit of God: “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 beyond her strength.” For more information about this wonderful saint, go to www.cabrini.com.

Faith in Action

Through prayer, Mother Cabrini discovered God’s will and received the grace she needed to persevere despite challenges and reversals. How have I seen this in my own life? How can I change my outlook concerning failure or rejection, so that I can see God working His holy will through them?

This is an except from the Women of Grace Foundational Study Program. To learn more, visit womenofgrace.com/studies

Hey Mom – Want Your Daughter To Have Good Friends? Then Give Her the Tools She Needs to Make Good Choices!

Attendees of the first Young Women of Grace Retreat held at Malvern in July, 2018

What is a BFF? How do you find one? And – What does it mean to BE one? are just some of the topics this Young Women of Grace retreat will discuss with Catholic teens on July 13 at the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

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Study: Trendy Meditation Retreats May Be Bad for Your Mental Health

Research by the University College London (UCL) has found that more than a quarter of people who regularly attend residential meditation programs such as Vipassana or Koan experience “unpleasant” episodes including feelings of fear and anxiety.

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Judge Rules Against Atheist “Prayer” in U.S. House

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

A decision rendered on Good Friday by a D.C. federal appeals court has ruled that Father Patrick Conroy, chaplain at the U.S. House of Representatives, does not have to allow an atheist to deliver their daily prayer.

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Lenten Journey with the Saints: Day 31

April 5

“It is better not to fast and be thereby humbled, than to fast and
to be self-satisfied therewith.”

-Pascal: Pensees (17th century)

 

Today’s Reflection

We must always be on the lookout for wrong intentions. They can creep into everything we do, even spiritual exercises. Take a moment today to renew your intentions for this Lent and remember to do so from time to time throughout this holy season.

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A human person

February 7

“A human person…as we know, cannot be an object for use.”

– Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II)

 

Today’s Reflection:

Are there times when our focus on material possessions diverts our energy away from the people God has placed in our lives? Seek to find one way to focus less on things and more on people today.

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Daily Gracelines ADVENTure Day 24

December 25
Day 24: Daily Gracelines: ADVENTure with Mary
Theme: The third Sunday of Advent is all about JOY.  The third week of Advent begins on Guadete Sunday.  We are reminded of His birth and coming, and we await rejoicing!
Grace: I pray for the grace of joy as I await my Lord!  Regardless of what happens this week, I will rejoice in God.

Reflection:
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from the Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weaknesses no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
– O Holy Night by John Sullivan

Challenge: Ponder the holy moment of Christ’s birth when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. What does it mean to you this year? How will you carry Jesus Christ anew in your heart throughout 2019?

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The Lord is One

August 25

“The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”
-Mark 12:28-31