Somewhere in northern Italy, a fragile little girl squats by the side of a canal. She is dropping little boats made of paper in the hurriedly spurting liquid, and huddled in each barge there is a violet. The daughter imagines each violet is a missionary, and each barge 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 obvious religion and intelligence, she cannot take vows with the religious order she seeks to join. Cabrini hovers on past this handicap, taking a headmistress position at an orphanage, and collecting like-minded religious women around her.
Eventually, Cabrini is allowed to take religious dedicates, and her humanitarian struggles, her office morality, and her resourcefulness, draw her to the attention of Pope Leo XIII. Hoping to seek approval to move 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 change. Instead of skippering to China, Pope Leo XIII questions Cabrini to honcho 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 ship of grove , not of newspaper, to the West, and not the East.
Violets are a puzzled grow. The balm contains a chemical called ionone, which first induces our appreciation receptors with a sweet, ephemeral aroma, 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, only to pop up a while later, just as fragrant as before. This here-then-gone phenomena is the perfect metaphor for Cabrini, whose miraculous good works sounded up in New York, then Chicago, then Seattle, New Orleans, and Denver. She was in one spot, founding infirmaries and institutions, then disappeared, merely to reappear in another city, working just as tirelessly.
Despite incredible odds, Cabrini continued on. She founded prisons to serve the poor and misfortune, she rallied parish subsidize and testified a forte for receive people who would donate age, knack, and wealth to these undertakings. She cared for people’s physical and spiritual needs with an intensity and perseverance that was astounding.
And then, like the odor of the violet, she was gone from this world-wide, dying at the age of 67, while preparing Christmas candy for sick children. Nonetheless, just like the molecules of violet smell 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 demise, Mother Cabrini, formerly a frail girlfriend lowering newspaper ships and violets into the water, dreaming of generating the sunrise of Christ to those in the darkness, imparts glowing back to tiny Peter Smith’s eyes.
Peter Smith, whose newborn hearts had been accidentally given a far greater dosage of silver nitrate than tolerable, was completely healed, burned, charred material and all, after Mother Cabrini’s spiritual daughters prayed for her intercession.
The astounding miracle approved for Cabrini’s beatification was a fitting one for God’s good servant, whose see resulted in hospitals, orphanages, religious orders, class, and even, to the thrilled of the small girl she formerly was, missionary errands to China and Siberia. The little child with the barges 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, photo by Carol M. Highsmith[ reproduction crowd, e.g ., LC-USZ6 2-123456]( Public Domain)
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