Saint Frances Cabrini
Feast Day: November 13th
Year of Canonization: 1946
Patron Saint of Immigrants
Mother Cabrini was born in Lombardi, Italy in 1850 and moved to the United States in 1889. While living in the US, Cabrini founded a total of 67 schools, orphanages, and hospitals in the US, South America, and Europe. In 1909, Cabrini finally became a naturalized citizen to the United States and later became the first US citizen to be canonized. Today, shrines in both New York City and Golden, Colorado, honor this woman and her work.
Saint Katharine Drexel
Feast Day: March 3rd
Year of Canonization: 2000
Patron Saint of Racial Justice and Philanthropists
Born in 1858 to a wealthy family in Philadelphia, Saint Katharine Drexel always desired a deep relationship with God. This compelled her to charitable work with the Native American and African American communities in the southern and western United States. In 1891, Drexel founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament specifically for the Native American and African American populations. Throughout her life, Drexel and her fellow nuns tirelessly worked in mission schools in the south and west. In 1915, Drexel founded Xavier University, located in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Feast Day: January 4th
Year of Canonization: 1975
Patron Saint of Catholic Schools and Loss of Parents
Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in 1774 to a family from New York City. Much of Seton’s life was marred by suffering and death of the loved ones around her, first starting with her mother who died when she was just three years old. When she was 19, she married a wealthy businessman named William Seton, with whom she had five children. Her husband’s business eventually went bankrupt and William soon thereafter fell gravely ill. In an attempt to nurse him back to health, Elizabeth and William ventured out to more temperate climates in Italy, where William quickly died. While in Italy, Elizabeth, who was raised Episcopalian, discovered a love of the Catholic faith and converted to the Church in 1805.
After she converted, Elizabeth eventually opened up a religious community called the Sisters of Saint Joseph, which was the first free Catholic school in the United States. Today, there are six different religious communities throughout the United States that can be traced back to Elizabeth Ann Seton’s work at this school.
Seton was known as a loving and patient woman even though she endured much hardship in her life. She, herself, died at the young age of 46. Seton was canonized in 1974, becoming the first native-born saint from the United States.
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne
Feast Day: November 18th
Year of Canonization: 1988
Born to a wealthy French family in 1769, Saint Rose was inspired at the age of eight to do mission work in the Americas. Against the will of her parents, she joined a convent at the age of 19 and loyally served until the French Revolution. During the war, Saint Rose tended to the sick and poor affected by war simply as a laywoman of the church. After the war, she rejoined a convent and proceeded to travel to the United States to establish the Society of the Sacred Heart. Her travels eventually landed her in St. Charles, Missouri, where she eventually opened the first free school west of the Mississippi River.
Throughout her ministry, Saint Rose always had a desire to evangelize and educate the Native American population, and much of her service was spent educating and caring for the sick in these communities. By the end of her life, she opened up a total of seven schools and orphanages across the United States. Saint Rose was known by the Pottawatomie tribe as the “Woman who prays always.”
Saint Mother Theodora Guerin
Feast Day: October 3
Year of Canonization: 2006
Anne-Therese, later Mother Theodora Guerin, grew up in France in the early 1800s. At the age of 24, Anne-Therese joined the Sisters of Providence and took the name of Sister Theodore. Despite a harmful illness in her early days with the Sisters, Guerin was asked to go to Indiana to form a congregation to care for the sick and poor, which would soon be known as the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. This order of sisters is still in existence today. After the Sisters successfully established the first Catholic women’s liberal arts college in the US, Guerin went on to open orphanages and schools throughout the Indiana. Their ministry in education soon swept across the U.S. to schools in Massachusetts, Texas, and California, among others.
Saint Mother Theodora Guerin’s life and ministry was made difficult by murder, fire, and prejudice, but she always persevered kept the a deep faith. Guerin was eventually beatified by Pope John Paul in 1998 and was canonized in 2006 by Pope Benedict.