"The saint is a true person because the saint holds fast to God, and thus, to his heart’s Ideal." (Luigi Giussani, Theologian)
Frances Xavier Cabrini was an ordinary woman of her times, yet her life was made great by following the Ideals her heart was made for.
To say our hearts are ‘made for something’ sounds strange to the modern ear, for we no longer believe that creation in any way suggests some higher purpose. Indeed, the term sainthood can seem just as antiquated, a relic or remnant of some distant past. Even today, however, the relationship with God remains the most adequate working hypothesis for the growth and full realization of the personality. This is so because life is a vocation, a call to greatness that gives human existence a decisive direction and an infinite horizon. The whole problem of life, then, lies in our willingness to follow that call and to welcome all things we meet along the way – even obstacles – as opportunities for growth and maturity. Indeed, one of the tried and true anthems of Mother Frances Cabrini was, “I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). The life of Mother Cabrini gives witness to sanctity as the full expression of human life in every age and place, including our own.
"Like Water Encircles a Fish"
The immeasurable goodness of the adorable heart of Jesus decreed in his wisdom to give me birth in a Catholic country in a most religious family (Journal 48).
God graced Frances Cabrini with a history of people who helped to lay the foundation of her faith, a faith that would send her to the ends of the earth. On July 15, 1850 in the northern Italian town of Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Frances was born the tenth of eleven children. Countless evenings her father, Agostino, read to his family from the missionary magazine Annals of the Propagation of the Faith. She regularly witnessed her uncle, Father Luigi Oldini, acting with exceedingly kindness and charity toward the poor. She was also continuously exposed to the uncompromising faith and resoluteness of her older sister Rose who handled the bulk of her child rearing and education.
Monsignor Bassano Dedè, her parish pastor, became Frances’s spiritual director when she was fifteen. The advice he often repeated to her was, “Go and tell your Jesus.” These simple words struck a deep chord in Frances’s heart. She recalled years later in a letter to him:
What sublime words. Because of my spiritual ignorance I did not understand them then, but now I understand the unique and sweet secret of those words. Each time that I encounter sufferings ... I pour out my soul to Jesus and I am consoled and comforted (Sullivan 33).
At age thirteen Frances left home for Arluno to attend a private school run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart founded in 1831 by Teresa Verzeri (later canonized by Pope John Paul II). The spirituality and teachings of this religious order had such a great impact on Frances that she requested admittance on two separate occasions. Teresa expressed its spirit in this way:
The Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ... must burn with the same love of the Divine Heart for their neighbor: purest charity that has no aim save for the glory of God and the good of souls; universal charity that excludes no one but embraces all; generous charity that does not draw back from suffering, is not alarmed by contradiction, but rather, in suffering and opposition, grows in vigor and conquers through patience (Doveri 58).
Teresa’s educational method ran contrary to the common teaching philosophy of the time by favoring love for the child over commands and rebukes, so that the teacher and student journeyed together in pursuit of the truth. Education as a work of love later became the foundation of Frances’s own approach to teaching, and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus became a way of life for her. One can see the striking similarity between Teresa’s approach and how Frances later described the spirituality of the community she founded, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Pope Leo XIII:
The purpose of this institute is to grow in personal holiness and promote the glory of God in every part of the world, excluding no class of people, no work which can benefit the salvation of souls, no corner of the earth—even the most distant, the most uncivilized... our hearts are inflamed with love and we are ready to undertake great works, trusting in Him who can do all things (Sullivan 55).
Years later, in her journal, she wrote:
God has surrounded me from my earliest years with his boundless love, encircling me on all sides like the waters of the sea which enclose a fish (Journal 66).
For her, everyone she encountered was given by God and a sign of His Presence and love.
House of Providence
At age eighteen, Frances Cabrini applied for admittance to the Daughters of the Sacred Heart but was denied, being deemed too frail for religious life. After receiving a teaching certificate, she accepted a position in neighboring Vidardo (LO). There she met Monsignor Antonio Serrati who became her guide, confidant, and life-long friend. Serrati commended her great personal and professional gifts to Bishop Dominic Gelmini of Lodi, who requested she take on the difficult task of reorganizing the girl’s orphanage in Codogno (LO). Known as the House of Providence, it had fallen into grave disorder under the supervision of two women, Antonia Tondini and Maria Calza, who mismanaged affairs and committed flagrant abuses.
Frances obediently accepted and, in 1874, began to reform the orphanage which she indeed found in utter disrepair. Tondini and Calza soon resented her presence and bitterly resisted her at every turn. However, Frances’s deep desire to become a nun surpassed the many difficulties she encountered. She found herself drawn to a group of women who had recently joined the Sisters of Providence and who earnestly sought to live the religious life. Motivated by their example, she, too, joined the community as a novice after only one month. She later wrote to Monsignor Dedè:
Probably because of my age, I was compelled to act without your counsel, which I value greatly. On the other hand, I know that I must yield, without further delay, to my strong religious desire. I am determined to stay here. Now I too am a Sister of Providence. On October 15, I received the religious habit and the name Sister Saveria [Xavier] Angelica (Sullivan 29).
In 1877, at the age of 27, she and her companions made their profession of religious vows. At the same time, the Bishop also appointed Frances as Mother Superior, putting her in charge over Tondini and Calza who were enraged with envy and continued to abuse Frances at every opportunity. In spite of these afflictions, Cabrini’s obedience to her calling was unshakable. In loving obedience, Frances suffered these trials, pouring her heart out to Jesus in her retreat notes of 1878:
...your mercy, my Lord, inspires me to suffer for your love and to imitate your life which was one continual martyrdom of suffering... Agonizing heart of my Jesus, help me through the abandonment you experienced in the garden of Gethsemane... grant that I may keep you company here ... in place of the disciples who sleep (Journal 11).
Frances persevered until 1880 when Bishop Gelmini dissolved the House of Providence. She was summoned to Lodi, where the bishop appealed to Frances to found a missionary institute of her own. Frances, joined by seven of the sisters who shared her missionary passion, immediately began to look for a house.
"Found One Yourself"
Frances emerged from the House of Providence in 1880 with a new sense of freedom and certainty. With her bishop proposing that she found a missionary institute, she lost no time looking for a place to house her foundation. It was named the Institute of the Salesian Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (later renamed the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), and Frances retained the name Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini. Her main focus was the formation of the young women who entered the institute. Humility, simplicity, and charity were the virtues upon which Frances built her foundation. She herself set the tone by example:
Even while sewing, let us think in every stitch of touching sinners’ hearts to stir them to arousal and repentance (Journal 14).
The bishop’s proposal to found a missionary order of her own indicated his confidence in her leadership, and she responded by trusting ever more in her own faith and judgment. She established her first house in Codogno. The order continued to draw women, and the years between 1881 and 1885 saw much growth and maturity: diocesan approval for her rule, new schools and a teacher’s college residence in Milan, and two additional institutions in Lombardy. Yet Frances’s health remained precarious, and she was often sick with fever. She remained totally dependent on God as her retreat notes from 1886 revealed:
My God ... if I could only extend my arms to embrace the world as a gift to you... Show me the way and I will do everything with your help! (Journal 26)
In 1887 Frances went to Rome. She was asked to open a house and school in Rome, and only four months later she received the Decree of Commendation for her institute. It was also during this visit that Frances met Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini of Piacenza, the founder of a missionary institute dedicated to the neglected and destitute Italians abroad. Scalabrini later asked Frances to go to New York to work with the oppressed Italian immigrants. She was hesitant since such a plan would postpone her dream to evangelize the Orient. Yet, during the following months Scalabrini persuaded Frances of the needs in New York as described by the city’s archbishop, Michael Corrigan. Her Sisters also demonstrated their joy at the prospect of expanding their activities in America.
Returning to Rome on January 10, 1889 Frances obtained a private audience with the Pope Leo XIII but was only able to answer questions, not receive the pontiff’s counsel. Days later she would kneel before Leo again prepared to remain wholeheartedly obedient to the Holy Father’s wishes: China or the United States? Leo’s reply proved providential:
Not to the East, but to the West. The institute is still young. It needs resources. Go the United States. There you will find the means which will enable you to undertake the great field of work (Sullivan 85).
Cabrini responded with the conviction that his words were from the mouth of Jesus Himself. Any doubt and hesitation instantly dissolved and her heart was set free as can be seen by the energy, enthusiasm and great speed with which she proceeded.
The First Mission to America
The love of God consumes her – it is evident on her face, in her words, in her dealings with others (Sullivan 49).
Mother Cabrini’s first ocean crossing from France to America in 1889 was a harsh one, and she and her six companions suffered from seasickness. Yet that did not impede them from caring for the 1500 impoverished emigrants traveling in steerage “whose accommodations resembled a stable” (Sullivan 79).
Their welcome on “terra firma” proved only slightly more hospitable than the conditions at sea. Archbishop Michael Corrigan, who had initially agreed to allow the sisters to work among the poor Italian immigrants, seems to have been dissuaded by voices ridiculing the donation of a building on Manhattan’s fashionable East Side as a site for an immigrant orphanage. Corrigan even went as far as to suggest that the nuns return to Italy. We can only marvel at Mother Cabrini’s determination, reminding him that she had been sent to America by Pope Leo himself and there she would remain. She eventually won the bishop over by her graciousness, practicality and resolve. Moreover, he could not deny the value of the work she and the sisters would accomplish.
On the very first Sunday they were in New York, Mother and the sisters went to meet families at St. Joachim’s Church, the first national parish founded for Italians, located in lower Manhattan. The sisters recounted how people crowded about them, eager to share their stories:
The mothers recommended their children to us. The fathers spoke of the unhappiness of the poor Italians who were treated like slaves... Our hearts were touched... About 350 boys and girls came to the church for religious instruction (Sullivan 72).
Frances wasted no time in trying to establish an orphanage – the very first foundation of the Missionary Sisters in America – on firm financial footing, but there were few options available to her. Mother Cabrini was forced to ask her sisters to go begging from house to house for donations. This form of support would eventually become customary for the later foundations the Sisters established in America. It also provided them with firsthand experience of the plight of the Italian immigrants who “were hated and treated like animals” (Sullivan 72).
Of primary concern for Mother Cabrini were the souls of those who had fallen away from the faith or had become indifferent to it. She often heard the refrain, “In this country one is not accustomed to attend Mass. We have no chance to think of anything except earning our daily bread” (Maynard 117). The Sister’s presence among them brought a ray of hope and the visible witness of the love of God. A local newspaper at the time reported:
In these weeks, a group of women, of brunette complexion, dressed like Sisters of Charity, have been seen walking through the streets of Little Italy, climbing up narrow and dark stairs, going down basements and even risking to enter certain corners where not even the police dare to set foot. They wear a habit and a veil different from those of others. Few speak English. It is an Institute which looks after orphans and all its members are Italian. The five or six sisters who have settled in this city are the pioneers of the congregation in the United States. They are led by Mother Frances Cabrini, a woman with large eyes and an attractive smile. She does not speak English, but she is a woman of firm determination (Galilea 68).
"I Can Do All Things…"
On her second trip to New York, Frances was asked to operate a hospital for the Italian immigrants. She was reluctant at first but was persuaded by several encounters. Once the sisters were ministering to a patient who showed them a letter he had received from Italy several months earlier. Since he was illiterate, it was the sisters who read to him the sad news of his mother’s death. The opportunity to grieve with the lonely man affected Mother Cabrini greatly. Then too, Frances dreamt of seeing Our Lady with her sleeves rolled up comforting the afflicted. The Blessed Mother told her, “I am doing what you refuse to do.” Answering this call ultimately gave her and her sisters experience she would later use in founding hospitals in Chicago, Denver, and Seattle.
So complete was Frances’s identification with the heart of Jesus, that her desire for the glory of God knew no bounds. One can feel her heart swell with unwavering trust:
The Kingdom of God has no limits; its limits are those of the globe itself. Come, and let your glory be the glory of your celestial spouse, the working out of that celestial talent – the sublime vocation of cooperating with Christ for the salvation of souls. Come, for in the Vineyard of the great Father of the Family we are to gather rich and copious sheaves. There are some who think they are too poor, ignorant and weak to undertake such work. Do not fear; mistrust yourselves and confide in God, for as I have already said Omnia possum in Eo qui me confortat (Maynard 179).
For Mother, the flurry of activity surrounding them was a show of the great favor of Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Frances discerned the beckoning signs of the Lord everywhere she went: in her superiors, in the good people she met aboard ship, in the local church and government officials who helped her set up new missions, in the parents who urged her to educate their children, and in the hearts of all who needed to know the love of Jesus. Even nature itself extended God’s loving embrace to His obedient servant:
Oh blessed voice of Obedience! When she has spoken, the Missionary crosses the immensity of the Atlantic or Pacific without concern about the movement of the clear waters, the billows that dance and sparkle in the air and cast themselves deeply into the abyss. In her sight the ocean becomes a magnificent, sublime spectacle, enrapturing her with wonder and admiration. They fill her heart with God (Travels 54).
It is simply astounding to think that anyone, let alone a woman of her day, could have accomplished the works she did. In her 28 years of missionary activity, she crossed the ocean 30 times, founded some 67 missions, and supervised firsthand the establishment of schools, orphanages, and hospitals on three continents. Never did she attribute to herself the rich harvest she reaped. She wrote
in her journal:
It is the Holy Spirit, He Himself, Our beloved, who works, prays, helps us with wearisome tasks, enlightens, teaches, energizes and comforts us with His abundant and lasting insight. His motions and impulses direct us to every holy work. In sum, He is around us with the loving solicitude befitting His eternal love for us (Travels 47).
"…in Christ Who Gives Me Strength"
Mother Cabrini’s decisions regarding establishments were often the source of dismay, even to her closest advisors. One could say she had a nose for a good business deal, true to the entrepreneurial spirit of her native Lombardy. But more so, she had her eyes fixed on the hand of her master (Ps. 132:2) in the circumstances and opportunities that presented themselves.
In Argentina in 1895, as was her practice, she walked the various neighborhoods of Buenos Aires to scout out a location for a new school. After personally inspecting 60 different houses, she landed on one smack in the center of the city. The outcry from local supporters was fast and fearful: how could they rent such an expensive house without the promise of an adequate number of students? Frances courteously listened but answered, “It’s very kind of you to tell me all this. But I have a secret inspiration for which I cannot account. I have decided to take that house at any price.” They threw up their hands at her apparent naiveté (Maynard 209).
Her decision instead proved most astute. She later noted in her journal:
The courage shown in undertaking a difficult enterprise made a good impression on the people, so much so that the principal families brought us their children; and this went on so well that, when we left, the academy was already full and I had to arrange for a second and larger house (Maynard 209).
In 1899, Frances was determined to establish a base in Denver to reach immigrant miners, even though she had no idea where the needed resources would come from. After carefully pouring over the maps, she chose to open a hospital and an orphanage on the outskirts of the city. The Bishop sought to dissuade her for fear the institute would be too isolated. She won him over and in the following years, the city did indeed develop in that direction. She had secured a desirable property at a fraction of its value. She was the consummate beggar for Christ, wedging her foot into any slightly opened door. She often won the hearts (and the wallets) of unlikely benefactors by her candor and kindness. She would rightly remind her donors that she was bestowing upon them the great honor of doing good and that they should be grateful to her for asking. When things got especially tight, she relied on what she called the “Bank of Heaven” urging sisters to look again in places they had previously checked – a desk drawer, a coat pocket – and somehow the necessary sum would appear.
Mother Cabrini and her Missionaries worked ardently for the salvation of souls:
Oh, Love is not loved, my daughters! Love is not loved! And how can we remain cold, indifferent, and almost without heart at this thought? How can we forget ourselves in folly and nonsense? How can we put a limit on our affection and on our energy when we consider the interests of Jesus? Oh, how beautiful is the hymn of that fortunate bride who can say, ‘Jesus loves me, and I love Him! He is the only object of my thoughts. I have printed Him on my hands and in the deepest recess of my heart.’ ... Let our bride’s small hands do the work of a hundred hands and bring His love and aid to the lost souls, to the poor in prisons, tenements, streets, mines, hospitals, fields, and wherever there is suffering! (Travels 20)
Education of the Heart
Mother Cabrini desired that all her schools and educational institutions at various levels, including kindergarten, adopt a method of instruction that she called “education of the heart.” Its ideal was not only to introduce pupils to knowledge of things but also to cooperate with divine grace in leading students to their ultimate calling: holiness. In this way, their lives could be transformed into Christ’s loving presence permeating culture and redeeming the world. She instructed future teachers in this way:
[A teacher] knows what ... Pontiff Leo XIII said: by no means must the judgment of Solomon be renewed, cutting the child in half, by an unjust and cruel separation of intellect and will. She knows that while developing the children’s intellect and will, it is the duty of the educator to direct them to the acquisition of virtue leading to the ultimate end. She knows that those who in their early years have not received a religious education grow up without a notion of the highest truths... Gently, and sweetly, she makes her good influence felt in school, helped by the grace of the Holy Spirit, who soundlessly penetrates the intimate recesses of youthful hearts which, like soft wax, are ready to receive impressions... This is the fruit you are called to bring (Travels 256-257).
Mother Cabrini believed that education was an act of love. Education of the heart happens when teachers truly love their students as mothers love their children. Only those children who had the experience of being truly cared for would have enough confidence to grow in maturity. Teachers were not to speak of values only but to live them. Only tenderness combined with loving firmness could win a child’s heart. Teachers and pupils were together on a shared journey to holiness; together they were to exercise their faith, practice virtue and experience transformation toward the Ideal.
The following extracts from Mother Cabrini’s instructional notes illustrate the carefully formulated guidelines of her philosophy of education:
Let your example speak louder than your words...
Maintain a maternal solicitude for the children...
Study well the personalities, the strengths of the students, because one cannot presume they are all the same...
Treat each one according to their capacity and the gifts they have received from God...
Seek to form character. Do not embarrass, correct patiently. Do not show dislike either in words or actions. Do not speak of the students’ defects to others (Uffici).
[Students] shall be charitable with their classmates, especially with the most deficient, not ridiculing them, nor recounting after class the little incidents that would humiliate them to their classmates.
In their recreations the pupils will find the world in miniature. They will be in contact with characters very much different from theirs; let them know how to make use of this to learn one of the most important lessons of practical life.
In order to obtain good results in studies, they shall implore the help of God, from Whom all knowledge comes, and the protection of the Madonna, to whom they must have recourse by frequently raising their heart to her (Regolamento 14-16).
"Oh my daughters, trust in Him always and you will witness wonders"
Many women asked to join her as Missionary sisters. Their vocations represented the first fruits of the desire Frances conceived in her own heart by saying “yes” to God’s plan. She ardently desired to bring the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the world. Her “daughters” belonged to Him as she did, and only He could say what was best for them. No one loved them more than the One who made their hearts burn for His love. They depended on Him as she did. “Her being and her strength was in this love to the point that if the Lord should lift his finger from her, in a moment she would lose everything” (Journal, Intro C).
She was also aware of the resistance they harbored to letting God have His way in them, herself included. She begged Him for the gift of humility. The ultimate substance of their lives was in Him and she considered humility the foundation of this relationship. Numerous letters written to her “daughters” attest to her constant maternal involvement in guidance, encouragement and correction:
You are Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Who can tell, who can explain the meaning of these words? The Disciple of Love, after having rested his head on the heart of Jesus, says that no ear can hear, nor can the mind of man conceive the happiness of the elect; and you, dear children, you all belong to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Therefore, be the repositories of His graces, of His secrets, and of His intimate communication (Memorie).
O how powerful and excellent is humility! ... By all means, oh daughters, be humble of intellect and thought... Let each one regard herself the least of all, the only one unworthy of living with the spouse of Christ... Never ascribe to your merits those attributes which are God’s gifts to you. If at times you feel especially favored with graces and blessings, this should always serve to make you recognize more your own nothingness... (Travels 48)
Only in obedience you will recognize the safety of your steps, the firmness of your work and the strength of your spirit. In this way, you will not only walk, but fly, like royal eagles along the paths of the most robust virtues. Your life will always be peaceful and happy, always being able to repeat to yourself, “I am sure of doing God’s will.” ... Do not do things by halves, oh daughters, but let your obedience be complete and perfect like that of Jesus (Travels 134).
Tell Jesus that all things besides Him are insipid, boring and bitter; that He is your only love, that day and night you will seek Him as your peace, your joy, your only treasure... (Letters 112)
You lost your cross? Then you are the most unhappy person in the world because the one who has no cross is not a follower of Jesus Christ; so I wish you a very long and very large cross full of thorns, which you will carry as a precious jewel with a smile on your lips (Letters 222).
The spirit of prayer means praying according to His divine pleasure, to desire all that Jesus desires and to want nothing not pleasing to Him. It means keeping our spirit always intent on prayer, every time and every place: working, walking, eating, speaking, in suffering, and in joy to pray habitually and always (Travels 132-133).
Let’s not be discouraged to see ourselves so far from the perfection of holy love which Jesus wishes to communicate to us. He is ready to help our efforts. What He wants is for us to have recourse to Him with a sincere will to correspond to His graces entrusting ourselves completely to His love (Travels 107).
"I Am Your Spiritual Daughter"
Of the many friendships Frances formed over the course of her life, none was as important to her as the one she maintained with Pope Leo XIII. We already know how she sought his blessing upon her Institution and how she revered his word as the word of Christ. Each time she returned to Rome, Frances would ask to see Leo and he, for his part, would grant her audience whenever possible. Their mutual esteem and fondness only grew over time.
They were kindred spirits, co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard. She once confessed to Leo that she enjoyed work too much! Leo, too, was an extraordinary worker whose twenty-five year papacy is one of the longest in history. He is best known for his encyclical letter Rerum novarum which sought to bring attention to the plight of the working class. Before returning to the United States for the second time, Frances sought out the Pope to bid him farewell. Even though he was not giving audiences at that time, Leo sent word to her that she could see him on his way back from his daily visit to the Vatican Gardens. We are told that Leo dropped all formality during their impromptu meeting and cried out to her, “Let us work, Cabrini, let us work. Then what heaven will be ours!” (Maynard 178)
On another occasion, as Frances was preparing to set sail, Leo sent word that she was to go to him. Though the pontiff himself was eighty-eight years old and not well by then, he saw that Frances’s health had also declined, and he wanted to know how one so frail could do the work that he, a robust man, could not. Frances warmly replied:
Holy Father, I am your spiritual daughter. That is what gives me the necessary moral strength. I am not going to lose my health by serving that dear Jesus who made me a Missionary of His Sacred Heart (Maynard 216-217).
The Pope’s blessing and personal favor energized Frances and bestowed upon her that singular sense of purpose she carried
all her life.
Too Small a World
The religious does not know or make distinctions between country, place or nationality because for her great soul, the world is too small (Journal 118).
In January of 1913, the Vatican requested from Mother Cabrini detailed information regarding her order’s work on behalf of immigrants. In March of that year she submitted the report describing about 60 foundations. She died in Chicago four years later, in December 1917, and was canonized in 1946. Below is the map of Frances Xavier Cabrini’s travels published in 1929 as part of the inquiry into her sanctity.
Works Cited for the life of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
- Cabrini, Frances. (cited as Travels). To the Ends of the Earth: The Missionary Travels of Frances X. Cabrini. New York: Center for Migration Studies, 2001.
- -------, (cited as Journal). Journal of a Trusted Heart, Retreat Notes of St. Frances Cabrini, November 16, 1892. Philadelphia: Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, 1984.
- -------, (cited as Letters). Letters of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. Translated by Sister Ursula Infante, MSC. Chicago: Archdiocese of Chicago, 1970.
- -------, (cited as Regolamento) Regolamento. Translated and edited by Mother Stella Maris Roniger, M.S.S.H., in Contributions of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to Education in Italy and in the United States. New York: Fordham University, 1938.
- -------, (cited as Memorie). Memorie della Casa di Roma, vol. 3. January 10, 1889.
- -------, (cited as Uffici). Uffici. Privately printed pamphlets and typescripts with varying modifications. Radnor, PA: Cabriniana Room, Cabrini College.
- -------, Report sent to the Vatican. Unsigned Italian typescript. Rome: Archivi Missionarie del Sacro Cuore.
- Galilea, Segundo. In Weakness, Strength: The Life and Missionary Activity of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. Quezon City, Philippines: Claretian Publications, 2004.
- Martignoni, Angela. My Mission is the World, The Life of Mother Cabrini. Translated by Clarence Tschippert. New York: Vatican City Religious Book Company, 1949.
- Maynard, Theodore. Too Small a World, the Life of Mother Cabrini. New York: Saint Frances Cabrini Shrine, 1945.
- Sullivan, Mary Louise, MSC. Mother Cabrini: Italian Immigrant of the Century. New York: Center for Migration Studies, 1992.
- Verzeri, Teresa. (cited as Doveri) Libro dei Doveri, vol. 1. Vatican News Service: Teresa Eustocio Verzeri (1801-1852). Vatican City. http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20010610_verzeri_en.html
The above story of life of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is based on the exhibit The Face of Sanctity, the Human Face: The Lives of Elizabeth Seton and Frances Cabrini designed for New York Encounter and displayed on January 16-18, 2015 in New York City.