This year marks the 75th anniversary of the canonization of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, and to celebrate the occasion, the national shrine to her, located in Lincoln Park, is launching a jubilee year on Nov. 13. The year includes a plenary indulgence for those who make a pilgrimage to the shrine, walk through its holy door and complete the necessary requirements. Auxiliary Bishop Robert Casey, vicar general of the archdiocese, will celebrate Mass at 3:30 p.m. that day, which is St. Frances Cabrini’s feast day, and officially open the shrine’s holy door. The saint, known by many as Mother Cabrini, had strong ties to Chicago and died here on Dec. 22, 1917. Located across from Lincoln Park Zoo at 2520 N. Lakeview Ave., the shrine is tucked beside a luxury condominium development. It was originally part of Columbus Hospital, which was founded by Mother Cabrini and located where the condo building now stands. Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, founded by Mother Cabrini, staff the shrine. The Chicago shrine is the only national shrine honoring Mother Cabrini, who was the first canonized U.S. citizen. “We were looking for an opportunity to restore a sense of gratitude toward Mother Cabrini and the Missionary Sisters,” said Father Ramil Fajardo, the shrine’s rector. Holy Name Cathedral will also have a holy door for the jubilee year as a site where Mother Cabrini would have visited and worshipped, he said. A donor has commissioned a statue of Mother Cabrini that will be installed in the cathedral courtyard in October 2022. At the time of her canonization, the Catholic faith was seeing a revival in the United States and the enthusiasm around the moment was especially strong in Chicago, where more than 100,000 Catholics filled Soldier Field for a Triduum of Masses and a holy hour. “It’s amazing when you look at how this was such a sense of pride and also a sense of accomplishment. So I thought, well, we should do something for Mother. Not just for the purpose of remembering but also anchoring mission. Taking the reality of 2021 and making it a starting point for actually putting into practice, in the new reality of Renew My Church, whatever Mother Cabrini was talking about,” Fajardo said. That means, for example, care for immigrants “in Christ,” hospital care “in Christ,” Fajardo said, stressing “in Christ.” “We can’t just do stuff. It has to be anchored and undergirded by our Lord. Faith is always very important,” he said. “So the whole idea for the jubilee year is to reflect, for some months, on the gift of Mother Cabrini and to conclude the year with some firm resolutions [for the shrine’s ministry].” Mother Cabrini was born in Lombardy, Italy, in 1850. She was one of 13 children in her family. At 18, she said she wanted to become a nun, but was refused because her health was poor. She helped her parents until their deaths and then worked on a farm with her brothers and sisters. One day a priest asked her to teach in a girls’ school. She stayed there for six years and then, at the request of her bishop, founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. She came to the United States with six nuns in 1889 to work among the Italian immigrants at the urging of Pope Leo XIII. She spoke no English and had no funds. Filled with a deep trust in God and endowed with administrative abilities, she founded schools, hospitals and orphanages. She became a U.S. citizen in 1909. Pope Pius XI beatified Mother Cabrini in 1938 and Pope Pius XII canonized her in 1946. She became the first American citizen to be canonized. Mother Cabrini’s death and canonization were heavily covered in the archdiocesan newspaper, with her death highlighted on the cover of the Dec. 28, 1917, issue of the New World, as it was then named. She died at 1 p.m. on Dec. 22 from heart disease. It was a Saturday. Archbishop George Mundelein celebrated her funeral Mass in the chapel of Columbus Hospital the following Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Her body was then taken to West Park, New York, where she founded her first U.S. institution. At the time of her death, she had founded 67 institutions around the world, including Columbus Hospital, Columbus Extension for the Poor at Lytle and Polk streets, and Assumption School at 319 W. Erie St., all in Chicago. The New World had a great deal of coverage of the announcement of her canonization in 1946, the canonization itself and the subsequent celebrations in Chicago. Some of the highlights were: • Mother Cabrini was a woman of modest stature who often suffered illness. She was savvy in business and strong in prayer. When obstacles arose, she is often quoted as telling her nuns not to worry, that God would take care of things. Her sisters reported that they often found her in deep prayer and she couldn’t be shaken awake. • The July 28, 1946, issue reported that Italian Catholics in Chicago would gather the day of her canonization at Blessed Mother Cabrini Church, 743 S. Sacramento, for Mass and a procession with her image. NBC broadcast the canonization ceremony in Chicago. • Mother Cabrini’s canonization was the first after World War II. • Special dispensation was given for Mother Cabrini’s canonization. At the time, the Code of Canon Law stipulated that 50 years had to pass after a person’s death before a cause could be opened. Mother Cabrini died less than 30 years prior to her canonization. Apostolic nuncio to the U.S. Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani appealed to the Vatican for special consideration of her cause. • People often asked the saint where she got her money to found institutions, and she replied, “We spend millions but haven’t a cent. We draw from the Bank of Providence. Its funds are inexhaustible.” For more information, visit cabrininationalshrine.org.