It has been nearly a decade since the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was shuttered after the closing of Columbus Hospital. Now, happily, we have a clear plan to reopen the Shrine in the Fall of 2012.
This gives us a new opportunity for mission. We hope that the Shrine will become a focal point for all those who see Mother Cabrini as a model of Christian discipleship and holiness.
While serving the spiritual needs of pilgrims and visitors, we want to raise awareness of how the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are continuing the Mission of Christ in the world.
“The reopening of the Shrine provides a remarkable opportunity for Chicagoans and others to be spiritually renewed and deepen their relationship with God, “says Sister Joan McGlinchey. “Mother Cabrini is a modern day Saint who embodies the idea of putting your faith to work on behalf of the most vulnerable in society. We are pleased to introduce a new generation to this holy woman who lived, worked and died in Chicago and made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many through her faith,” Sr. McGlinchey adds.
Once reopened, the Shrine will offer those who visit an opportunity to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, Eucharist, reflection and learning about the life of Mother Cabrini. In her lifetime, this Italian born woman made an indelible difference locally and internationally. She tirelessly looked after the spiritual, educational, and healthcare needs of immigrants and others everywhere she served. She founded a total of 67 institutions, including schools, orphanages, hospitals and parish ministries on three continents. Today, the Missionary Sisters are dedicated to carrying on the Mission of Jesus in the spirit of Mother Cabrini.
At one time, the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was the heart of Lincoln Park’s Columbus Hospital. The Shrine was the destination for many who sought personal healing and spiritual comfort. When in 2002, the hospital closed and was torn down, the Shrine and Mother Cabrini’s room were conserved, though closed to the public.
Mother Frances Cabrini, the first American citizen saint and the Universal Patron Saint of Immigrants, died in that small room on December 22, 1917. In her lifetime, Cabrini founded 67 institutions of care including orphanages, schools, hospitals, and other care centers to serve immigrants as well as the poor in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Denver, Seattle and in many countries of Europe and in Latin America.
Mother Frances Cabrini lived, worked and died here, so she is considered one of Chicago’s “Very Own”. Chicago’s Cardinal Mundelein initiated the process for her beatification and canonization of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini.
In response to Mother’s canonization in Rome in 1946, there was an overwhelming increase of pilgrims to her room in Chicago. Cardinal Stritch consecrated a National Shrine built in her honor in 1955 at Columbus Hospital. He dedicated this new worship space with the special mission of fostering devotion to our first American citizen saint. Since that historical moment the National Shrine has played an integral role in the mission and ministry of the religious congregation which Mother Cabrini founded.
Today, the Shrine, an architectural gem of gold mosaics, carrera marble, frescoes and Florentine stained glass, is being restored. It is surrounded by a large condominium development at 2550 North Lakeview, the former site of Columbus Hospital. The National Shrine will now function as a stand-alone center for prayer, worship, spiritual care and pilgrimage.
Those of you who know and love the Shrine from days’ past and those of you new to the devotion of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and her great works for God are invited to watch the renewal of the Shrine over the coming year leading up to its scheduled reopening in Fall of 2012.
Please visit our website to sign up for regular updates, to find out how you can help, and to get more information about the future development of this new spiritual center which will continue the mission and ministry of Mother Frances Cabrini in Chicago.
Please Pray with us and for us at this time. Thank you for your continued interest and support,