St. Frances Xavier Cabrini - Nov. 13th
Fr. Shannon M. Collins, CPM
13 November 2004
"God our Father, You called Frances Xavier Cabrini from Italy to serve the immigrants of America. By her example teach us concern for the stranger, the sick, and the frustrated. By her prayers help us to see Christ in all the men and woman we meet" (Collect).
i. It is a defined teaching of our Catholic Faith that all human beings from every age and place — no matter their color, their language, or their cultural background — all human beings come from one set of parents. All men find a common brotherhood in that Adam is the ultimate father of the human race with Eve being the mother of all. This teaching — this doctrine is called MONOGENISM — and it was emphasized by no less a person than Pope Pius XII of holy memory. In his great encyclical Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII teaches the following: No Catholic can hold that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all. In short, MONOGENISM — one ultimate parent — one ultimate begetter — one main generator — must be held by all Catholics. Therefore, the Catholic must reject as false and pernicious those theories that suggest that different races in humanity come from different sets of parents. The theory known as POLYGENISM — that is multiple begetters — multiple parents — a parent to bring forth the whites, another parent that brings forth the blacks, another the browns, etc. is to be absolutely rejected.
ii. Perverse forms of evolution include such an opinion and it is ultimately the foundation of the sin of racism, as well as the evil of racial superiority or inferiority. All of us ultimately come from Adam and this makes all of us relatives in the end — children of Adam and Eve — extended siblings — brothers and sisters. And this common ancestry is the very foundation for the Catholic Church, for the People of God, for the Mystical Body of Christ. That is, we who are one in Adam by blood are to become children of God the Father by grace through our oneness in the New Adam, Jesus Christ, Who is the Child of God — the Only-Begotten of the Father.
iii. Sin brought many evils, especially the loss of grace and our being separated from God. But is also brought another evil, namely divisions amongst men — a Babel mentality complete with racism, Xenophobia — fear of foreigners — ethnic hatreds — extreme nationalism or chauvinism — and conflict. In a sense, every war fought since the fall of man is a Civil War — from the Pelopponesian Wars — to the 100 Years War — to World War I and World War II — these are all Civil Wars, really, wars, battles between brothers in the flesh.
iv. Certainly Christ's mission included paying the price for sin and ending the separation between God and mankind. But His mission also included ending divisions amongst men, brothers — bringing all the scattered children of Adam — all of humanity into the family of the New Adam under God the Father. The CCC #831 states: God made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all His children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one. Christ Jesus has a Catholic Heart — a Sacred Heart that is universal in Its reach. Consider that at the Cross on Calvary the human family was shown — the saint in Mary, the sinner in the Magdalene — male and female — Jew and Gentile. Even our dear Lord's Cross was truly Catholic — truly Universal, for It pointed North, South, East, and West. Nothing is beyond the reach of His Catholic Heart.
v. As our dear Lord is truly Catholic, so is His Church. Again from the CCC #831: The character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord Himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of His Spirit. In today's saint, Frances Xavier Cabrini, we have a Catholic women, with a Catholic heart universal in its love and in its reach towards all men. Born in July of 1850, Frances was the youngest of 13. Her Catholic heart grew in its universal love as her parents would read the lives of missionary saints — those sent to gather the scattered children of God into one supernatural family. Frances would dress her dolls like nuns and she would make paper boats and float them down the river manned by violets and other flowers representing missionaries headed off to bring the Gospel to China. Eventually she would found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart and would establish houses of the order in Italy, France, Spain, and England. But her dreams of China world not he realized. but rather work in the Americas. As Pope Leo XIII told the young nun — NOT TO THE EAST, BUT TO THE WEST.
vi. Italian immigrants in the United States faced great difficulties. They lived in the worst conditions and they were looked down upon — discriminated against — they were labeled as wops, dagos, white niggers — again we see the horror of ethnic hatred, Xenophobia, and racism. But St. Frances Cabrini would be a mother to them establishing schools, orphanages, and hospitals. Frances would establish the presence of her missionaries in New Orleans, Denver, New York, Chicago, and elsewhere. But her Catholic heart reached beyond any particular ethnic group. She would found houses in Central and South America, though her Spanish was poor, even nonexistent. She was a mother to all and she truly made the world smaller. Frances Xavier Cabrini crossed the Atlantic Ocean 25 times in her efforts to unite all men in Christ. She once said to her sisters: The world is only a small ball for the Missionary Sisters. See how the Infant Savior holds it in His hands. Although she realized her ultimate citizenship was in heaven, Frances become a citizen of the United States and is the first canonized citizen of our nation. St Francis Xavier Cabrini was born into heaven on December 22. 1917.