Mother Cabrini (or at least her arm bone) on the move

St. Frances Xavier CabriniMother Cabrini relic gets new home

November 25, 2008

A sacred relic of the USA’s first saint, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who helped the poor and sick in Chicago, was moved Sunday to a new temporary home in a Little Village church.

The Chicago Tribune reports that parishioners at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii welcomed the relic, the humerus bone of the right arm of Mother Cabrini, who was the first American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

She is one of us,” said Bishop Raymond Goedert during the services. “Every piece of Chicago was blessed by her presence. Chicago is where she lived and died.

Mother Cabrini started dozens of hospitals, schools and orphanages throughout the country. In Chicago she founded the now-shuttered Columbus Hospital in Lincoln Park, and the Cabrini-Green public-housing complex was named in her honor.

The relic was transported in an ornate glass and gold reliquary to an altar at the church. While there are dozens of Mother Cabrini relics worldwide (her heart is in Italy), the humerus bone is Chicago’s most significant.

The relic was displaced about a year ago from a Mother Cabrini shrine on the property of Columbus Hospital, which is being renovated into Lincoln Park 2520, a 306-unit condominium complex. The National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is housed within a chapel on the grounds. The chapel is owned by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Mother Cabrini helped found, and is undergoing renovations.

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