News Articles

Faith with Works: A legacy of Mother Cabrini

Cardinal Dolan at Cabrini Mass CCNY 2019
Timothy Cardinal Dolan at the Cabrini Shrine. Image: Catholic Charites NY

By Jim Sliney Jr.

Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan performed mass at the shrine of Saint Frances Cabrini in northern Manhattan on Saturday, July 13th, 2019. Only two days prior, the threat of nationwide Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids had been announced so there was a lot on the minds of parishioners that day. And rightly so - Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, or “Mother Cabrini” is the patron saint of immigrants.

During the Mass Cardinal Dolan said, “We need consistent advocacy on the part of fair and just immigration policy. We need care for the immigrants and refugees in our city who are scared to death and who wonder who is going to protect them.”

Mother Cabrini emigrated from Italy to America in the late 19th century. Before she did, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When she came to America at the behest of Pope Leo XIII, her order organized catechism and education classes for Italian immigrants. She also provided for the needs of the many orphans, establishing schools and orphanages. In 1946 she was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized.

“If she were alive today,” Cardinal Dolan noted, “Mother Cabrini would be tending to the needs of immigrants from all over the world — including Haitians, Central Americans, Latin Americans and Asians.

“Her legacy continues today in the ministry of her religious order and Catholic agencies, like Catholic Charities of the New York Archdiocese”, he added. The Catholic Church provides “a massive array of services — housing, food, teaching English and trying to help (immigrants) get their legal status in order and advocating for fair and just immigration policies.”

“This work inspires me today as the church continues to welcome immigrants from so many different countries, particularly in these troublingly uncertain times.”

Catholic Charities of New York works tirelessly to carry on the mission shared by Mother Cabrini. From the New Americans Hotline, to accessing legal help, reporting fraud and exploitation, to the array of services available through Catholic Charities Community Services, the work never ends. By the selfless volunteers and charitable support of Catholic Charities, the support will never end either.

15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” - James 2:15-17