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Shrine News Archive

Recent News about the Shrine’s Progress

Since October of 2011, when it became clear that we had a firm date for the Shrine’s reopening nearly a decade after it closed in 2002, we gave regular updates for the visitors to the site. You can review these updates from latest to earliest as you scroll down the page. We hope you’ll find it as fascinating and rewarding journey as we did. Please come back and visit the site often as we will regularly continue to add more news about this Sacred Place in the Heart of Chicago. We also encourage you visit the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini at 2520 North Lakeview. In addition to the newly updated Chapel area, there is an historical exhibit of Mother Cabrini’s life and accomplishments along with a recreation of the room where she died in 1917.

 

 Shrine Closed Thanksgiving Day

In honor of Thanksgiving day, which falls this year on Thursday, November 22, The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini will be closed. We will reopen the next day, Friday, November 23 at our regular time, 10AM. As usual, Eucharistic Adoration will take place Friday between 10AM and 3 PM.

We hope all those who support the Shrine will enjoy their Thanksgiving with friends and family. The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and all the volunteers and staff who work to keep the Shrine open want to wish you all a very happy beginning to the holiday season.

Be sure to check the website for more updates on holiday events.

 

November 18-Italian Catholic Federation Mass

On our Sunday November 18 Mass at 10 AM, we will be honoring the Italian Catholic Federation. The Italian Catholic Federation (ICF) is a non-profit fraternal organization for practicing Catholics of all cultures. Founded in 1924, the federation’s mission is to uphold and develop the religious spirit among its members and to spread that spirit throughout the community with works of  love, hospitality, and charity.

Members of the ICF enjoy the fellowship of other Catholics and their families. By praying and playing together, they seek to enrich and strengthen  family and spiritual lives, and share blessings with one another.

The Italian Catholic Federation offers assistance to parishes, pastors and local communities. They often help local pastors with various parish projects and fundraisers and are often active in parish councils, finance committees, and other Catholic organizations. We welcome their association with the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and their participation in the apostolic mission of the Catholic Church.

Be sure to join us for this wonderful celebrations at our Shrine on November 18.

 

Busy Weekend: Inaugural Concert Plus Columbus, Cabrini, Cuneo, CINN Reunion

Uplifting Chorale Concert Held Saturday to Full House, Reunion Mass Fills Shrine for Sunday Morning Mass

 

The missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus invite everyone to join us for two big events coming up at The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. On Sunday November 11 at our 10AM Mass, we will be be celebrating the Feast Day of our founder Mother Cabrini.

This promises to be a special day for the Shrine, as it is our first Feast Day celebration since reopening October 1 of this year. Please attend and be sure to support the Shrine and its ministries at collection time.

A week later at the Sunday November 18 Mass at 10 AM, we will be honoring the Italian Catholic Federation. The Italian Catholic Federation (ICF) is a non-profit fraternal organization for practicing Catholics of all cultures. Founded in 1924, the federation’s mission is to uphold and develop the religious spirit among its members and to spread that spirit throughout the community with works of  love, hospitality, and charity.

Members of the ICF enjoy the fellowship of other Catholics and their families. By praying and playing together, they seek to enrich and strengthen  family and spiritual lives, and share blessings with one another.

The Italian Catholic Federation offers assistance to parishes, pastors and local communities. They often help local pastors with various parish projects and fundraisers and are often active in parish councils, finance committees, and other Catholic organizations. We welcome their association with the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and their participation in the apostolic mission of the Catholic Church.

Be sure to join these wonderful celebrations at our Shrine in the coming weeks.

 

Shrine reopens to full house.

Cardinal George presides over moving ceremony.

Over 350 people witnessed the inaugural mass of the newly reopened National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini on Sunday at an emotional ceremony led by Francis Cardinal George.

Over fifty Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were in attendance. Representatives of the congregation traveled from around the world to support this long anticipated occasion. The Shrine had been closed for a decade as its original home, Columbus Hospital in Chicago, was torn down and a new highrise development took its place.

The Mass was celebrated at 4 pm Sunday, September 30. Visitors marveled at the newly refurbished chapel area that featured bold new colors and stained glass windows illuminated by the afternoon sun. Prior to the reconstruction, many of the windows were hidden from sunlight by the hospital walls.
The relic of Mother Cabrini, housed for years at Our Lady Of Pompeii Church, was returned to its original home under the altar.
The Shrine has a redesigned Narthex area to greet visitors, and a new adjacent garden to the west of the Chapel that features shaded pergolas and a fountain that replicates the one originally built at the Mother Cabrini Shrine in her home country of Italy. A newly designed lower level allowed overflow guests to view the Mass via a wall-sized projection over closed circuit TV.

Local TV and newspapers covered the event. You can see some of their coverage here. Chicago Tribune. Channel 9 WGNTV.  Chicago Magazine. Chicago Tonight WTTW.

 

Mother Cabrini’s Belongings Preserved

From Shrine News, June 2012

It was not long after Mother Cabrini’s death in 1917 that her room inside the Columbus Hospital convent began to be visited by great numbers of pilgrims. They flocked to see the place where the saintly woman had lived and worked. This continued after her beatification and up to the time the chapel was built in 1955. To accommodate the large crowds, Mother’s room was relocated and preserved in an area adjacent to the Shrine entrance in the hospital. Now, as the Shrine becomes a freestanding entity when it reopens this fall, the reliquary room will become an integral part of the spiritual experience of the shrine.

Architects Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson have designed a remarkable space to display furnishings from the room where Mother’s Cabrini, lived, worked and died. Visitors can observe and pray from behind glass walls that maintain the integrity of Mother Cabrini’s original artifacts and possessions. Built-in kneelers outside the glass enclosure allow for quiet contemplation and prayerful devotion. Plans are in place to institute an artifact exchange with the other Cabrini shrines in Codogno Italy, New York city, New York and Denver Colorado. This program will allow the public to see many personal possessions of Mother Cabrini that have never been seen in Chicago before.

 

Preserving more than memories

From Shrine News, June, 2012

As the Shrine is being prepared for the throngs of guests and faithful who will visit starting in October, special care must be taken to preserve and display the possessions of Mother Cabrini for future generations to see and experience. So a team of preservation specialists has been hired to oversee the presentation of all artifacts on display. Bernacki & Associates have spent the last months meticulously cataloging all of the items which once occupied the original Cabrini Shrine. They are consulting on the best ways to care for these items so they are preserved to museum quality. Anyone willing to contribute to help defray the costs of this important process can contact us at admin@cabrinishrinechicago.com.

 

“Spectacular” Bronze Main Entrance Doors Take Shape

From Shrine News, May, 2012

Shrine architects Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson are looking after the thousand different details that need to be addressed as this September’s reopening date fast approaches. One of the most beautiful and striking details is the bronze doors that create the East entrance to the Shrine.

At one time, a simple corridor connected the Shrine to Columbus Hospital, with the doors heralding this entrance. Now with the newly designed narthex area becoming the main access point to the Shrine, the doors needed to be updated to match the redesigned decor. Artists from across the country are collaborating on the design, while the doors themselves are being built in Los Angeles. The ornamental grille work is being forged in Wisconsin, and the final assembly will be done here in Chicago by the same company that built the “Bean” in Millennium Park.

Chris Payne, one of the key architects on the project commented “the new doors are spectacular. We are especially proud of the way they allow light from the chapel interior to shine through new glass panels, inviting visitors to journey within.”

The Shrine reopening is scheduled for September 30th, 2012, with a Mass celebrated by Frances Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago.

 

Construction on Shrine’s New Copper Roof Nearly Finished

From Shrine News, May, 2012

After nearly 4 months of painstaking and detailed work during the winter, the Shrine’s new copper roof is almost finished.

The original roof, built in 1955, had long since achieved the classic blue-green patina of weathered copper. The new covering will start with a shiny gold metallic sheen, then over the next few months and years turn a dark brown, then slowly change to the striking teal/vertigris shade that makes the top of the Shrine so unique looking. The new roof installation was supervised by architects Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson, and installed by subcontractors Albert J Wagner & Sons.

 

Preserving the Shrine Creates “Earthshaking” Challenges

From Shrine News, March 2012

In 2002, the difficult decision was made to sell the century-old Columbus Hospital. Preserving the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, which was housed within the hospital walls, turned out to be a difficult engineering challenge. One of the key reasons was the earth-shaking vibrations caused by the demolition process. Also, heavy piles had to be driven in the ground to support the highrise development that was to be built on the site.

Both could compromise the structural integrity of the Shrine itself. The Shrine’s Chief Maintenance Engineer, Jose Calderon, recalls how sensitive vibration detection devices were installed within the Shrine when construction began. The devices kept a continuous record of vibrations and helped engineers circumvent any potential damaging events. Calderon also made frequent personal inspections of the interior of the Shrine to look for plaster cracks and other effects from the construction. Look for a video in the future where Jose talks about the many other challenges that arose over the years as the Shrine’s preservation progressed.

Where was the relic of Mother Cabrini relocated?

From Shrine News, March, 2012

When the Shrine was closed in 2002, all of the artifacts housed within had to be properly preserved and stored. The relic of Mother Cabrini, her arm bone, which sat in a glass case beneath the altar, needed special treatment. It was the nearby Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii that became the temporary home of the relic in recent years.

A special service and procession will be conducted on September 23, 2012 to return the relic to its original place within the Shrine.

 

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for Shrine Renovation

From Shrine News, December 2011

On November 17, 2011, in the shadow of a large development project at 2520 North Lakeview, dozens of members of the press, business leaders and the faithful attended a public groundbreaking ceremony held to mark the official beginning of the renovation of the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. Designs were presented by architects Sullivan Goulette & Wilson for the new narthex, entrance, and outdoor garden area. Plans for a new memorial to Mother Cabrini were also presented; a glass enclosed space that recreates the original room where Mother Cabrini lived and died at Columbus Hospital, which has been great attraction for pilgrims and the faithful over the years.

In her dedication speech, Sister Joan McGlinchey, MSC, acknowledged the hard work and efforts of the developer, Ricker Murphy, the architects, her sisters, and all others who have committed their time and talents to ready the Shrine for its reopening and to develop its mission.

The space, along with a refurbished cross that will top the newly roofed Shrine, was blessed by Father Father Kenneth Simpson of St. Clement Church. He was assisted by Father Ted Ploplis, who was also recently named provisional Rector of the Shrine.

 

September 30, 2011 Date Set for Shrine Reopening

From Shrine News, December 2011

It’s official! Cardinal George has approved the date of Sunday September 30, 2012 for a solemn Mass to dedicate the reopened National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. The Cardinal himself will celebrate the Mass in the chapel which will be followed by a kick off a week-long series of events.

Details are still being worked out, but plans are being made for special programs, such as a reunion of former employees and staff of Columbus, Cuneo and Cabrini hospitals. The festivities will also include musical events, site tours, prayer services, and liturgies.

 

 

 

A Peek Inside

From Shrine News, December 2011

For almost a decade, the wonderful worship space, frescoes, statuary, alcoves and stained glass inside the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini have been covered with canvas and supported by scaffolding in an effort to carefully preserve them. During this time, the building has inspected regularly to monitor temperature, humidity, and the condition of the walls, ceilings, and artwork. Assisted by construction experts, and with the support of the Missionary Sisters and lay volunteers, the careful task of readying the Shine for public visitation has begun.

Once reopened, the mission of the Shrine will continue to offer those who come an opportunity to know Gods love, and to be a center for prayer, worship, reflection and learning about the life and holiness Mother Cabrini. It will also serve as a focal point for the global ministries of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To that end, visitors next year can expect the Shrine to reopen as a welcoming place for people of all faiths. An interactive informational video about the Shrine, Mother Cabrini’s life, and the Missionary Sisters is being developed and will be an integral part of the Shrine experience. Look for more updates about the Shrine’s progress every month at this site.

 

Welcome to the Garden

From Shrine News, November, 2011

Once the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was no longer surrounded by Columbus Hospital, the opportunity arose to create a quiet, urban garden area outside of the building. Designs have been approved and construction will start next spring for a garden area that will be the new home of the marble statue of Mother Cabrini. The statue will reside in an alcove, bracketed by stone benches, flower beds, and vined pergolas. The architectural firm of Sullivan, Goulette and Wilson are supervising the design of the outdoor gardens. You can see some of the other plans for the reopening of the Shrine in the slideshow above.

Reborn After a Decade

From Shrine News,  September 2011

Over the last few months, we began to identify our mission and vision for the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. Shuttered for almost a decade, its classic interior, filled with statuary and frescos, has stood shrouded and covered, carefully protected until it is once again ready for the public.

Though many in Chicago have been aware of its presence, the Shrine was originally built and had been secluded inside Columbus Hospital. When it reopens it will be a destination in its own right.

We hope to be a welcoming presence in Chicago, where people can come to pray, worship and be spiritually renewed.

We are also planning to restore the Shrine to its original beauty and will be replacing the roof by year’s end. We have retained a local architect to design the new entrance area which will contain the room where Mother Cabrini died.

 

A Labor of Love

From Shrine News, September 2011

The architectural firm of Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson has been retained by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to develop both interior and exterior design changes to prepare the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini for its new ministry and sacred presence in Chicago.

Our architects are excited to be part of the reopening of this unique and sacred place. The illustrations of the new garden area you see on this site were supplied by them.