Get to know Mother Cabrini


Mother Cabrini is the patron saint of immigrants. She is known for her dedication of caring for the poor, uneducated, sick, abandoned, and especially, Italian immigrants.

She founded 67 institutions including orphanages, schools and hospitals, spread across the U.S. — New York, Colorado and Illinois — Central and South America.

Mother Cabrini was born as Maria Francesca Cabrini on July 15, 1850, in the Lombardy region in Northern Italy. In 1877, she became Mother Cabrini after she made her vows and took the religious habit. At that time, she added Xavier to her name in honor of St. Francis Xavier.

Mother Cabrini arrived in New York City on March 31, 1889, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1909.

She came to Colorado in 1902, and established the Queen of Heaven Orphanage for girls in Denver in 1904. Seeking a place where the girls could experience outdoor life, sometime in 1909 to 1910, Mother Cabrini negotiated the purchase of a property on the east slope of Lookout Mountain to serve as a summer camp. It opened circa 1912, which was also Mother Cabrini’s last visit to the property, now home to the Mother Cabrini Shrine.

She died from complications of dysentery on Dec. 22, 1917, at age 67 in Chicago. She was beatified on Nov. 13, 1938, and canonized on July 7, 1946 — the first U.S. citizen to be canonized.

Her feast day is celebrated on Nov. 13.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan, Congressman Ed Perlmutter from Colorado’s 7th Congressional District and the Jefferson County Commissioners have all made proclamations in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Mother Cabrini’s death.

Information gathered from and The American Folklife Center in the the Library of Congress, Local Legacies,

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