Somewhere in northern Italy, a puny little girl hunker by the side of a canal. She is dropping little boats made of paper in the rapidly flowing liquid, and nestled in each ship there is a violet. The daughter imagines each violet is a missionary, and each craft is hastening off towards India or China.
The little girl is Francis Cabrini, the youngest of eleven children, and one of only four who will survive past adolescence. She is small and fragile, and when she gets older, she is told that, despite her self-evident religion and ability, she cannot take vows with the religious order she seeks to join. Cabrini swims on past this difficulty, taking a headmistress position at an orphanage, and collecting like-minded religious women around her.
Eventually, Cabrini is allowed to make religious commitments, and her charitable exertions, her make ethic, and her resourcefulness, return her to the attention of Pope Leo XIII. Hoping to seek approval to swim on to China, to do what the violets of her teenager did, and evangelize the people there, Cabrini asks the Pope for his permission.
Permission is given, but with a twisting. Instead of skippering to China, Pope Leo XIII expects Cabrini to ability to America, to minister to the swelling population of Italians who were flooding into the Position, often in total privation. And so the frail violet took a boat of timber , not of newspaper, to the West, and not the East.
Violets are a inquisitive heyday. The smell contains a chemical called ionone, which first quickens our smell receptors with a sweetened, transitory smelling, then ties to them, causing them to shut off temporarily. You cannot register the smell of violets for more than a few moments at a time, before the ionone “blinds” you to it, merely to pop up a while later, just as fragrant as before. This here-then-gone phenomena is the perfect metaphor for Cabrini, whose stupendous good works popped up in New York, then Chicago, then Seattle, New Orleans, and Denver. She was in one spot, founding hospices and academies, then led, only to reappear in another city, working just as tirelessly.
Despite prodigious quirkies, Cabrini continued on. She founded foundations to serve the poor and ill, she mobilized parish support and testified a clevernes for obtain people who would gift time, flair, and fortune to these undertakings. She cared for people’s physical and spiritual needs with an vigour and perseverance that was astounding.
And then, like the scent of the violet, she was gone from this world, dying at the age of 67, while preparing Christmas candy for sick children. However, just like the molecules of violet sweetnes that linger in our olfactory abilities despite our ability to sense them, so was Mother Cabrini still working for us, this time through her intercession.
A short three years after her death, Mother Cabrini, formerly a fragile girl stopping newspaper crafts and violets into the water, dreaming of returning the beacon of Christ to those in the darkness, creates light-headed back to tiny Peter Smith’s eyes.
Peter Smith, whose newborn gazes had been accidentally given a far greater dosage of silver nitrate than bearable, was completely soothed, burned, charred tissue and all, after Mother Cabrini’s spiritual daughters cried for her intercession.
The astounding miracle approved for Cabrini’s beatification was a fitting one for God’s good servant, whose see been successful in hospices, orphanages, religious orders, schools, and even, to the enjoyed of the small girl she once was, missionary expeditions to China and Siberia. The little child with the crafts full of violets spread God’s love to the West, East, and all points in between.
image: Stained-glass windows inside the chapel at the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado by Carol M. Highsmith/ Library of Congress, Prints& Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith[ reproduction figure, e.g ., LC-USZ6 2-123456]( Public Domain)
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