As the annual meeting of the bishops continues here in Baltimore, the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, an immigrant from Italy who came to the United States to serve her fellow Italian immigrants in New York. She and the other members of her order founded schools, hospitals and orphanages, often raising money by begging on the street. By the time of her death in Chicago, she had started over 65 different institutions that served children, the poor and sick. She was a remarkable woman of faith, courage and determination and is the first US citizen to be canonized in our church.
When I reflect upon her extraordinary life, a number of questions have often crossed my mind. I have often wondered how she found the time to do all that she accomplished? From where did she get the energy and stamina? How could she trust so completely in the will of God while serving in a country that was foreign to her in both language and culture?
Of course, the answer to these questions is the same. It was her profound faith in the Lord Jesus, her trust in His grace and her openness to be used as His vehicle of mercy that gave her all that she needed to live such a remarkable and heroic life. It is an example that challenges me and also gives me great encouragement.
Mother Cabrini was once counseled by a fellow sister to get more rest from her many projects and labors. Mother’s response was simple. She reminded her fellow sister that we call life after death to be “eternal rest” for a reason. She gently reminded the sister that this life was the time to work. Real rest will come later.
Many times when I am exhausted by the many projects that I am called to lead, I remember Mother Cabrini’s words. Let us take consolation in the fact that Christ will sustain us in our current labors and one day, if we are found worthy, He will give us true, eternal rest in the life to come.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.