An Immigrant's Story

God our Father,
who called Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini from Italy
to serve the immigrants of America,
by her example,
teach us to have concern for the stranger,
the sick, and all those in need,
and by her prayers help us to see Christ
in all the men and women we meet.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
  of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, born in Lombardy, Italy, in 1850, founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1880.  With the encouragement of Pope Leo XIII, she came to the United states in 1889, and for twenty-eight years, she established schools, hospitals and orphanages.  She also founded schools in Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua.

Any church I've ever been in that has been built within the last hundred years or so, usually has  very elaborate stained glass windows.  Those windows usually bear the names of someone's family member.

I always marvel at the fact that those families had many mouths to feed, were in a strange land with a strange language, and yet, they scraped up the money to honor their loved one with that window.

Where are the St. Cabrini's of today?

I spoke with two different generations of immigrants.  The older one came to this country with nothing, but slowly learned the language, found work and raised a family.  Stewardship and monetary contributions to the Church were a must.

The younger generation I spoke with came to this country under similar circumstances except they already had a few family and friends here.  The Catholic Church is an afterthought.  Though Mass attendance and stewardship is part of their life, monetary contributions are almost non-existent.  When I asked why, I was told that back "home" the Church gives to them and not the other way around.

The Catholic Church is facing the HHS Mandate and here in Chicago, water meters are being installed in the churches so for the first time, the Church will not be exempt from paying for water usage.  And of course, with many Churches one hundred years old (or older) building repairs are always on the horizon.

So where are the St. Cabrini's of today?





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