The jubilee year to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the canonization of Mother Cabrini kicked off with a Mass on Nov. 13 and the opening of the holy doors at the National Shrine to St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, 2520 N. Lakeview Ave. “I’m in awe. I thought it was a beautiful celebration. I could feel the people’s faith and their feelings of happiness in being here. Sometimes we say the heart can see what the mind cannot express and I think that’s what probably everybody here felt in their heart today,” said Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Sister Bridget Zanin, executive director of the shrine, following Mass. “I think Mother Cabrini really touched the people’s hearts.” Sister Bridget, the other Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the shrine staff are looking forward to this jubilee year. “We’re expecting many people to come on pilgrimage. We are here, not only with arms open and doors open but with hearts open for people to come. Mother Cabrini always said, ‘There is room for everyone here.’ How right she was. We are trying to carry that legacy out,” Sister Bridget said. “When she was alive, Mother Cabrini worked hard. She never had anything big or a celebration for her, so I think today she deserves all of this.” Mother Cabrini founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1880. Auxiliary Bishop Robert Casey, archdiocesan vicar general, was the main celebrant at Mass and officially blessed and opened the holy door before Mass began. During the jubilee year, people can make pilgrimages to the shrine, pass through the holy door and fulfill the three conditions of receiving the Eucharist, going to confession and praying for the intentions of the pope to receive a plenary indulgence, which is the remission of temporal punishment due to sin. Those who cannot physically make a pilgrimage to the shrine can receive a plenary indulgence “having expressed the resolution to detach themselves from all sin and the intention to fulfill, as soon as possible, the three customary conditions, if they are spiritually united to the celebrations or pilgrimages, by offering their prayers, suffering or the hardships of their lives to the mercy of God by the hand of Mary,” according to the official proclamation of the jubilee year. Holy Name Cathedral is also a jubilee site and will open its holy door during a Mass on Dec. 5. In his homily, Bishop Casey reflected on Mother Cabrini’s courage to carry out God’s will for her on earth, which often saw her crossing the Atlantic Ocean despite a fear of water. “As we celebrate this day today, it’s a moment for us to consider, do we have that same courage? Do we have the courage to put aside our fears and get on the boat?” he asked. “Can we face our fears with deep faith and allow ourselves both to be blessed and to serve as a blessing to others?” Bishop Casey also reflected on Mother Cabrini’s ministry to immigrants at the turn of the century. In fact, she came to the United States to minister to the growing number of immigrants from her native Italy and across Europe. “In every corner of the world and throughout all of history, God’s people have been challenged to get on the boat, to have courage, to keep the faith and to move forward with hope amidst the struggles,” he said. “St. Frances Xavier Cabrini teaches us by her example. She said, ‘I have started houses with no more than the price of a loaf of bread and prayers, for with him who comforts me I can do anything. With God all things are possible.’” With God in our midst, we can stay calm and afloat during the storms of life, the bishop said. “Knowing that God is with us and around us, my hope for this Eucharist today is that we can pray together to have the courage as God’s people to get on the boat, to face our fears with deep faith and to allow ourselves, like Frances Cabrini, to be people blessed by God as well as serving as a blessing through others,” he said. For information about the jubilee year, visit cabrininationalshrine.org.