For many students such as myself, a typical day at Cabrini College consists of going to several classes, meeting friends for coffee in Jazzman’s, working out at the Dixon Center, casually admiring the mansion and occasionally dodging a goose or two.
Cabrini Cavaliers, have you ever stepped back and wondered exactly how you ended up here? Sure. We all finished high school, overcame the pain that is the ACT and SAT’s and even toured our top choice schools to make sure that we would attend the perfect home for the next four years.
But really, we are all here because of her. By her, I mean St. Frances Xavier Cabrini: the woman behind the mission and the very reason we have a place to call home.
Mother Cabrini was born in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Italy in 1850. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which primarily focused on serving the poor. All of her life, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini dreamed of being a missionary in China. However, in 1889, Pope Leo XIII sent Mother Cabrini not to the East, but to the West to work among Italian Immigrants in New York City. Her incredible compassion and bravery led to the creation of 67 institutions including hospitals, orphanages and schools in Europe, Central and South America and the United States.
Now, some of you might be wondering just why I care so much about spreading her story. I commute a little farther than most students at Cabrini College. And by commute, I mean hop on a four-hour plane ride from Denver, Colorado to get to my second home in Radnor, Pennsylvania. When I tell that to most people, they get a very confused look on their face and ask “how did you end up here?” Well, the answer to that is simple. I’m here because of her.
Nestled deep in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains lies the Mother Cabrini Shrine. Every year nearly 100,000 people make a pilgrimage to the shrine to climb 373 steps to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue, meditate in the prayer gardens, explore the museum that contains many of her personal items and take in the beauty that the mountains have to offer, as well as drink the spring water that is attributed to many healing miracles.
My own little miracle happened at the shrine 26 years ago. It was here that my mom became Director of Development and the very place she met my dad. Thanks to Mother Cabrini, I grew up at the shrine, became passionate about social justice issues and discovered the possibility of attending Cabrini College.
I am here because of her, and you are here because of her. So thank you, Mother Cabrini. Thank you for giving me a home away from home. Thank you for giving me a place to study, a place to drink coffee with my friends, a team to cheer on, a legacy to continue and most importantly, thank you for giving me an education of the heart.