Catholic believers pray for the intercession of the saints in heaven so that they may pray for us on our behalf. Saints are able to intercede on our behalf and offer up to God the prayers of those on Earth.

Patron saints are recognized as the heavenly advocates and special intercessors for many things, even states. If you want to ask for the special intercession on behalf of your state, do you know who to pray to?

Francesca Saverio Cabrini, popularly known as Mother Cabrini, was born in 1850 in a small village outside of Milan, Italy, and she was the youngest of 13 children. Mother Cabrini became a nun in 1877 in Italy and in 1880 founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

She was as resourceful as she was faithful. Mother Cabrini’s outreach in the villages and communities provided donations of money, time, labor and support. She wanted to become a missionary in China and arranged a meeting in Rome with Pope Leo XIII in 1889. The Pope told her that he needed for her to go to New York, rather than to China as she had expected, and she was to help the thousands of Italian immigrants already in the United States.

Upon arrival in the United States, Mother Cabrini was shocked at the chaos and poverty. She organized education classes for the Italian immigrants and provided for the needs of the many orphans despite tremendous odds. She became a U.S. citizen and founded missionary institutions around the country, including one in Golden, Colorado, the Queen of Heaven Orphanage.

Mother Cabrini traveled to Colorado in 1902 to visit Italian immigrant mine workers. She loved the mountains and purchased a piece of land in 1910 called Lookout Mountain. On the land, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart built an abbey and farmed the land, and orphan girls visited the site as a summer camp.

The property was officially established as a shrine in 1946, the year she was canonized. In 1954, a 22 ft. statue of Jesus was erected at the highest point of the site. A 373-step stairway was placed for visitors to climb, following Mother Cabrini’s path up the mountain, marked with the Stations of the Cross.

The summer camp closed in 1967 and the Stone House was used as a temporary convent until a permanent building was completed in 1970. Today, the convent contains a chapel, meeting rooms, gift shop, housing for the resident sisters and overnight accommodations for visitors.

Mother Cabrini worked tirelessly up until her death in 1917. She traveled to Europe, Central and South America and throughout the United States. She made 23 transatlantic crossings and established 67 institutions, including schools, hospitals and orphanages. She was canonized a saint in 1946 and was the first American citizen to be canonized by the pope.

In February 2020, the Colorado House approved a measure to replace Columbus Day, a federal holiday on the second Monday of October, and instead create a day in observance of Mother Cabrini.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.