Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I met Mother Cabrini...

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin

My Uncle Mac never met Mother Cabrini in a drugstore.  In fact, I never had an Uncle Mac.  But I do feel I have met Mother Cabrini.

I've met her in Sr. Michael Paul, who in second grade CCD insisted on inviting those known as "the retarded kids" into our classroom whenever we had a party, so we could play with them and as she used to say, "love everybody just like Jesus did." She taught us to love.

I've met her in the associate Chaplin of a College, a nun, who was the only five foot tall avenging angel I have ever met with the courage to storm into any dorm room, any party, or any clandestine gathering and drag a six foot linebacker out by his ear!  She saved our lives!

I've met her in the nun at Saint Ann's school who choked up with tears running down her cheeks as she told me about the third grader who told sister that his mommy was in bed because daddy wouldn't stop hitting her last night.  The same nun who sat beside me in court, holding the hand of the third grader's mommy so she'd have the courage to take out the restraining order. She taught me compassion.

I've met her in the young sister who used her master's in Spanish to minister on the toughest streets of Philadelphia, but when discovering too many kids were going to jail for lack of decent public defenders, went to school nights in  order to get her Doctor of Laws degree and pass her bar exam. She taught me perseverance.

I've met Mother Cabrini in Mother Cabrini, who on a boat at the end of the second of her thirty journeys across the Atlantic to bring fresh batches of nuns to serve the immigrants in the United States wrote in her diary: "This morning all the Sisters woke up very ill. Some of them thought they were going to die... Those who trusted my words rose and tried to eat, and presently were looking quite well. The rest, who thought death was at hand, stayed in their rooms awaiting it...”  Thank God she wasn’t your rector!

The same mother Cabrini who advised her sisters: “When you are corrected do not justify yourself. Remain silent and practice virtue, whether you are right or wrong, otherwise we may dream of perfection but will never attain it.” (Oct. 17-20, 1892) “Renounce yourselves entirely if you wish to enjoy peace..."(Oct. 17, 1892) Sounds like she read the Gospel today.

The same nun who heard the voice of her bridegroom and so followed him that we call her a saint.