There is much discussion in the news and the political sphere regarding the need for a comprehensive immigration policy in the United States. There are real problems with those who come into this country illegally and much worse those who enter for less than noble motives. I am not qualified to get into an in depth discussion of the issues at hand, but it is a complex problem that requires cooperative minds working together and a stellar example to that discussion.
I mention it here because we cannot forget that we are a nation of immigrants. My paternal great grandparents came from Poland through Baltimore to Upper Tyrone Township (Everson) in Fayette County in the late 1800's. My maternal grandfather came from Poland by way of New York and Pittsburgh to Uniontown, and my maternal grandmother, while born near Youngstown, Ohio, as a very young child went to Slovakia until she was a teenager before returning here (a strange twist to the story).
I mention it today because the Church celebrates the feast of the first United States citizen ever raised to the Altar as a Saint, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who was canonized in 1946. But Mother Cabrini was a naturalized United States citizen, an immigrant who came to this great land from Lombardy (Italy) to minister to the ever growing number of Italian immigrants. She had founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She came to New York in 1889 at the urging of the Holy Father to minister to immigrants, and between then and her death in 1917, in New York and Chicago where she died, she labored for twenty eight years in the United States and South America. She establish sixty-seven institutions during that time (schools, hospitals and orphanages - thank God she didn't have to deal with the HHS mandates of our time). This great citizen of the United States (by choice), this example of love and caring as a servant of Jesus Christ (by choice), this Saint of the Universal Church and the first of a growing number of Saints from this great nation, this immigrant, is honored today. The Collect prayer says "... by her example, teach us to have concern for the stranger, the sick, and all those in need, and by her prayers help us to see Christ in all the men and women we meet."
SAINT FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI, PRAY FOR US!