Wisdom, Chapter 6, Verse 7-8
7 For the Ruler of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, because he himself made the great as well as the small, and provides for all alike; 8 but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
No matter how big or important you are God is greater. If you are in a position of power exercise your power as if you are working for God; for the power, you have been given to you is from him. Whether you are great or small complete your duties as if it is for the Lord. In all things do your best. If you are in power take care of and listen to your people do not lord, it over them. Your authority has been given to you by the Lord.
Scrutiny of the Powerful
St. Elizabeth, Duchess of Thuringia, it is said that the servant of God lost her mother, Gertrude, Queen of Hungary, about the year 1220. In the spirit of a holy Christian daughter, she gave abundant alms, redoubled her prayers and mortifications, exhausted the resources of her charity for the relief of that dear soul. God revealed to her that she had not done too much. One night the deceased appeared to her with a sad and emaciated countenance; she placed herself on her knees next to the bed, and said to her, weeping, “My daughter, you see at your feet your mother overwhelmed with suffering. I come to implore you to multiply your suffrages, that Divine Mercy may deliver me from the frightful torments I endure. Oh! how much are those to be pitied who exercise authority over others? I expiate now the faults that I committed upon the throne. Oh! my daughter, I pray you by the pangs I endured when bringing you into the world, by the cares and anxieties which your education cost me, I conjure you to deliver me from my torments.” Elizabeth, deeply touched, arose immediately, took the discipline to blood, and implored God, with tears, to have mercy on her mother, Gertrude, declaring that she would not cease to pray until she had obtained her deliverance. Her prayers were heard.
Mother Cabrini, the Saint of Italians in America
Frances Xavier Cabrini, born in the province of Lodi in Lombardy, eventually came to the United States toward the end of the nineteenth century. It was due to total serendipity that she became the saint for Italian immigrants in this country. It is also a sweet paradox that she, from the north, arrived during the great wave of southern Italian emigration to the United States. Having taken her vows in 1877, three years later she and six other nuns founded the religious institute Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As we read erlier, wanting to provide help to immigrants beginning in the U.S., Pope Leo XIII suggested instead that she go west, where, according to him, the already thousands of Italian immigrants in the U.S. were in great need of assistance. Mother Cabrini and six others arrived in the United States in 1889 and hit the ground running, so to speak. As they did in Italy, here, too, Mother Cabrini and her team founded the requisite housing, a series of schools and orphanages, and the necessary hospitals that chiefly served the Italian immigrant communities. Actions supported by the Church, for sure, but actions also emblematic of what Italians can do in order to help other Italians in need. In all, they founded close to 70 institutions of all types in numerous cities throughout the United States — Chicago and New York the two principal cities associated with Mother Cabrini today, as well as Cabrini College in Pennsylvania. Undoubtedly, Mother Cabrini was an exemplar of all things possible and thus a symbol of hope for all. She herself had crossed the ocean in 1889 and, in so doing, had followed the same route that thousands of other immigrants had and were taking. Privileged as she was in her role as nun — and let us underscore at this juncture her gender — she was a woman of great acumen, having succeeded in overcoming great obstacles of the time and demonstrating how all things were possible. In this sense, then, she was also an example of how one can get things done and, more important, how we can still today — and let us say should — open doors for all people who are in need of such assistance. Her legacy clearly lives on both within and beyond the Italian/ American community. Italian Americans continue to serve and donate to many Catholic and social institutions today, at times even beyond. If there is one thing to bemoan, it is that her medical institutions of New York — Columbus Hospital and the Italian Hospital, which eventually became the Cabrini Medical Center — could not be sustained and consequently closed in 2008. Nonetheless, Mother Cabrini remains that shining light not only for all those whom she helped, but to be sure, that exemplar par excellence that we, today, should emulate for the dedication so necessary to get things done for the better good.
Things to Do:
· If you live in or pass through Colorado, visit the western Mother Cabrini Shrine.
· Read more about St. Francis Cabrini.
· Prepare an Italian dinner in honor of St. Francis Cabrini. For dessert make a ship cake (symbolizing her missionary work), a heart cake (she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart) or a Book Cake (symbolizing her founding a religious order).
· Say the Little Rosary of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini.
· Read the Encyclical, On Consecrated Virginity, by Pius XII and if you are single consider the possibility of a vocation to this life.
· Read the Pope Benedict XVI's Address for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2007.
· If you know someone who has immigrated to this country, try to help them feel welcome, perhaps by inviting them over for the Italian dinner.
Schouppe S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained