Here’s my post for the Evangelium Institute Blog on St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, a most determined woman.

The Cabrini family was a farming family in northern Italy. They were all made of tough stuff, it was said, and the youngest child born in 1850, little Maria Francesca, the future Mother Cabrini, was no exception.

Stories of missionary work read at night to the whole family made Maria desire to go and bring the Gospel to other peoples in other lands. China was her desired outpost. But her parents wanted her to be a school-teacher, so she obeyed.

In 1874, a Father Serrati and the Bishop of Lodi, knowing Maria’s desire for religious life, invited her to help staff an orphanage called the House of Providence founded by a woman named Antonia Tondini. Serrati had noticed Maria’s grit and talent and so her mission was to improve the conditions at the orphanage and help create a religious community with Tondini and the other two women who had previously joined. Maria was not eager to agree but she did and then found herself at the receiving end of Tondini’s insane abuse. For several years, now Sister Frances Xavier Cabrini endured Tondini, but in the end, nothing could be done. In 1880 the bishop closed the orphanage.

Nevertheless, Sister Frances’ grit and determination had drawn several women to her, and the bishop asked her what she desired. She wanted to do missionary work, but there were no institutes of missionary work for women at the time. The bishop said, “so found one yourself.”…

Click here for the rest of her amazing story.