For the first time ever, the first Monday of October is a Colorado state holiday in honor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. This follows the passage of the Frances Xavier Cabrini House Bill 20-1031 in the Colorado Legislature and then, Governor Jared Polis signing the bill in March of 2020.
Cabrini Day repeals Columbus Day as a state holiday. Colorado was actually the first state to celebrate Columbus Day in 1907, many years before it would become a national holiday in 1937 but it has grown to be controversial over the years as more about the discover’s life and treatment of indigenous peoples became more widely known.
This was the seventh attempt to rename the holiday. Since Mother Cabrini was a great humanitarian with deep roots in Colorado, a majority of lawmakers agreed to this bill and the designation. Cabrini Day is the first paid state holiday to honor a woman.
“We weren’t part of the development of the holiday but if they want to celebrate Mother Cabrini because she’s a woman that’s wonderful,” Sr. Roselle Santivasi, MSC told the Golden Transcipt. “And if it’s someone else for the same reason that’s wonderful too. The more we celebrate people who have done humanitarian things and done good, social justice things for other people that’s good, let’s celebrate them.”
Kyle Dyer Storytelling produced a short story about St. Frances Xavier Cabrini to answer the question: “Who was Mother Cabrini?”
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was born in Italy and knew early on that she would become a nun. At the age of 30, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She cared for those who were in the most need of being cared for: the poor, the sick, orphans and anyone else who was less fortunate and more challenged.
When Mother Cabrini left Italy, she moved to New York and worked through many challenges to open an orpanage. When Mother arrived in Colorado, she fell in love with the people and the mountains. She spent a lot of time with families of miners as well as the Italian immigrant community in Denver. She opened Queen of Heaven orphanage for girls in Denver and then, bought land in Golden to be their summer camp. That land is now home to Mother Cabrini Shrine.
Mother Cabrini Shrine is open and welcoming to all, much in the way Mother was respectful and loving to all. The Shrine is a beautiful escape from the city where people can be quiet, reflect and feel closer to God… and Mother. There are a couple of chapels, prayer gardens and 373 steps that visitors take to get to the highest point of the Shrine and the 22 foot tall statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The views are breathtaking.
Mother Cabrini Shrine is free but donations are always welcome. Due to COVID, there are no formal activities planned for Cabrini Day 2020.
Mother Cabrini Shrine is committed to following Jefferson County and the state of Colorado’s Safer-At-Home guidelines and asking that visitors practice safe social distancing and wear a mask. There is limited capacity within the chapels and there are sign up requirements for Sunday Masses.
For more information about Cabrini Day or to take the Cabrini Day Pledge, visit www.cabriniday.com