The third statue on the right side of the church is the first naturalized American citizen to be canonized a saint. The petite St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is our very own saint, too. Did you know she was a guest of the Graziano family directly across Division Street, where she looked over at the empty space and pronounced that one day there would be a church built. That's us!
"Mother Cabrini" was a feisty Italian immigrant nun who labored in New York and Chicago against a lot of odds, including an unfriendly archbishop who wanted her to go home. She didn't. She stayed to look after the welfare of the struggling Italian immigrant community. She used her considerable diligence and smarts to found orphanages, schools and hospitals.
Born the 13th child of wealthy cherry tree farmers in Lombardy (1850), she was two months premature---which may have led to delicate health for most of her life, yet she knew how to be resourceful and to apply leverage. She founded a whopping 67 institutions during her lifetime. How impressive is that for a 'little' woman, an immigrant, and a nun at the turn of the century? When you pass her statue, remember her long-ago visit to East Portland and that she is one of our special protectors here at St. Philip Neri.
St. Frances Cabrini, pray for us. Help our parish to continue its good works for another century.