Just weeks after finishing my freshman year, I had the incredible opportunity to embark on a pilgrimage to Italy with Cabrini University this past summer. What made this pilgrimage unique was the integration of Mother Cabrini and the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the founders of Cabrini University, into our experience. On the third day of our trip, we ventured south of Milan to a tiny village called San’t Angelo Lodianglo to visit the birthplace of Mother Cabrini (it was so small, in fact, that our bus driver had to back the bus out of the village because it was too small to drive through!). Needless to say, from humble beginnings comes greatness! Mother Cabrini’s childhood home was located in the heart of the village. It has been beautifully kept and restored and has been converted into a museum. We received a tour of the house where we learned about her childhood, what sparked her decision to begin the Missionary Sisters, and the impact she had on the world.
Following our visit to San’t Angelo Lodigano, we traveled to Codgono where Mother Cabrini had first established a “headquarters” for the Missionary Sisters. Presently, it functions as a nursing home for the elderly, houses administrative offices for the Missionary Sisters, a church, and the Mother Cabrini Museum. Following lunch with the Missionary Sisters, we were given a tour of the Mother Cabrini museum. Since the museum was located where Mother Cabrini lived, we received the opportunities to tour the house and the living quarters, which has practically remained untouched. We heard so many fascinating stories in which Mother Cabrini, through God’s grace, was able to fund and establish the Missionary Sisters. Afterward, we went to the beautiful church adjacent to the museum to say Mass. Following Mass, we were able to venerate a relic of Mother Cabrini.
A few days later, we arrived in Rome! Before visiting the city center, we visited another establishment of the Missionary Sisters. Although our visit was brief, we got to talk with the Missionary Sisters from all over the world and visited the Mother Cabrini archives. In the archives, we got to see the actual journals and letters written by Mother Cabrini. The journal entries ranged from the inception of the Missionary Sisters to the establishment of hospitals and orphanages in the United States. The next day, we visited another house of the Missionary Sisters. There we had yet another opportunity to venerate a relic of Mother Cabrini.
This pilgrimage opened my eyes to see the global impact of Mother Cabrini’s decision to listen to God’s will for her life and helped me to understand that the social justice issues prevalent in our society have not differed much from 19th-Century issues. The hospitality from each of the Missionary Sisters was absolutely incredible as well, even though we had never met before they welcomed us into their convents and homes with loving and open arms.