St Frances Xavier Cabrini

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Nun. Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first American citizen to be canonized.

Born in 1850, in Lodi in Italy, she was the thirteenth child of her family. As a young woman she worked as a teacher in a parish orphanage at Codogno, In 1874 she founded the Mother House of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart there. She dreamed of sending her sisters to China but instead her bishop advised her to concentrate on supporting the Italian immigrants who were going to the United States in large numbers. She went to New York with her first group of sisters in 1889.

From that time year after year she sent more sisters. She ended up founding 67 institutions, including schools, hospitals and orphanages - both in the USA and in Europe. Frances eventually became an American citizen and died of malaria in one of her own hospitals in 1921 in Chicago. She was canonised in 1946.