Cabrini, Frances Xavier

Cabrini, Frances Xavier (b. Francesca Lodi-Cabrini)

(1850–1917) Catholic missionary nun, saint; born in Lombardy, Italy. A devout child who took a vow of chastity at the age of 12, she was trained as a teacher and became director of an orphanage. In 1880 she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, hoping to spread the faith in China; instead, she was sent by the pope to America (1889); there, battling money problems, she founded schools and charitable institutions to serve poor immigrants in New York and other cities. She also dispatched missionaries to other countries. Naturalized in 1909, she became the first American citizen to be canonized (1946).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.