Pope Francis’ first anniversary. Also, day after tomorrow, some of us will visit Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, in person, in Manhattan.
Pope Francis. Saint Frances. Connections:
1. Both Italians. Mother Cabrini originally wanted to evangelize China. But Pope Leo said to her: Go west, not east. America is full of Italian immigrants who need your help.
So Mother Cabrini came to America to help people like Pope Francis’ parents. Mother Cabrini went to the places on the American continent where there were Italians, like New York—and like Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Pope’s hometown.
2. Both Frances and Francis are firsts in the annals of the Church on the American continent. Mother Cabrini was the first American citizen to be canonized. Pope Francis is the first American-born pope.
3. Both have the same name. –Wait a minute, Father! Holy Father is named Francesco after St. Francis of Assisi. Santa Francesca Cabrini’s parents gave her the name of a totally different, woman saint–St. Frances of Rome.
So it seems like a mere co-incidence that they have the same name, Francesco and Francesca. But guess again. Mother Cabrini changed her name to honor St. Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits. And Pope Francis is…a Jesuit! Connection, big time.
So we rejoice that we have a wonderful, fatherly Italo-American Pope! And we will pray for him—and for you, too—at the holy tomb of our Italo-American saint, up in the Big Apple. St. Frances, pray for Francis!