By Father John Lager, O.F.M., Cap.
Through the years, Mother Cabrini and the Mother Cabrini Shrine have been very significant in my life. She is someone I often pray to, and the Shrine is a place I go to for prayer, comfort, hope, and rest. And of course the wonderful, dedicated Missionary Sisters who have followed in Mother’s footsteps and oversee the Shrine bring joy to all.
As we prepare to honor St. Frances Xavier Cabrini on November 13, her feast day, it reminds me of how bold, brave, and determined she was; how hard she worked to make lives better for children, the poor, the sick, and the immigrants, and how visionary she was in establishing 67 schools, hospitals, orphanages, and other missions throughout the world during her 67 years on earth. Most of all, this feast day is a great reminder for all of us that Mother Cabrini’s inspiration and courage came from her passionate love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Her motto was always, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
This first American citizen Saint walked, lived, and worked in north Denver where she taught and cared for children who were orphaned. She later purchased property in the foothills of Golden. Mother Cabrini was as resourceful as she was faithful and prayerful. With no reliable water known to exist on the Golden property, she was able to uncover a water source by striking a rock that continues to serve the Shrine and the 100,000 plus annual visitors to this day. In 1946, Mother Cabrini was canonized a saint and Mother Cabrini Shrine was established.
For over 70 years, the Shrine has been a blessing and sanctuary for countless visitors. People have come to worship and pray during difficult times as well as joyous times to seek Mother Cabrini’s intercession. These are the reasons why I continue to spend time on this holy ground. It is for these reasons we now need to take care of the Shrine’s buildings and grounds. The Heart of Jesus Capital Campaign is raising funds to renovate and expand the chapel as well as the addition of conference facilities, an elevator, and additional restrooms. Over the last 10 months, we completed the renovation and expansion of the gift shop and conference room. Because of the generosity of our donors and friends, we have raised $3.6 of the $4.5 million needed for the remaining renovations.
Mother Cabrini Shrine has been a part of my life since I was a child. When asked to be the campaign chairman for the Heart of Jesus Capital Campaign, “YES” was the only answer. I know the profound influence that Mother Cabrini has had on my life and that of my family’s. Her commitment to the church, her desire to help so many, and her legacy to inspire and comfort those in need are paramount to why the Shrine is a necessary part of the fabric of our community. Mother Cabrini Shrine is an anchor of hope and beacon of faith for all those who visit this special place. Colorado is blessed to have her Shrine, her legacy, and her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Please come and visit the Shrine often, especially during this 75th anniversary year of her canonization. Our commitment to the Heart of Jesus Campaign will be a legacy for future generations who will come to the Shrine to pray and find peace and hope.
Please join me in celebrating St. Frances Xavier Cabrini on her feast day. I invite you to also join me by financially supporting the Heart of Jesus Capital Campaign to ensure the Shrine and its beauty is here for all those who seek to find consolation, solitude, hope, and serenity in their times of need.
For more information about the Shrine and the campaign and to make a donation, please visit MotherCabriniShrine.org or call 303.526.0758.
Father John Lager, O.F.M., Cap., is the National Chaplain for FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. He offers Mass at Mother Cabrini Shrine and is currently serving as the chair of the Heart of Jesus Capital Campaign to renew and restore the chapel at the Shrine.