It’s a time for “new beginnings” at Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado. That is a much-awaited thing to say about the Shrine with the completion of a renovation project that has taken years to complete.
“This transformation will only enhance the opportunity for people to come, to pray, to pilgrimage, and to experience God’s love, God’s mercy and God’s presence in a way that they haven’t had before,” Fr. John Lager, O.P.M Cap. said.
The chapel is bright and beautiful. Behind the altar stands a large mosaic that was crafted in Italy just for Mother Cabrini Shrine. The mosaic features St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, children, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Rocky Mountains… all of her most favorite things. There is also a brand new adoration area devoted to Mother Cabrini inside the chapel. It is located not far from a series of stained glass windows that depict profound stages of Mother Cabrini’s life. The chapel is also larger and more accessible and able to accommodate larger crowds for weddings, Holy Day Masses and even the weekly Spanish-language Mass that draws hundreds of worshippers every Sunday afternoon.
The renovation project also created a much larger retreat space. That area of the Shrine was one of the first to be refurbished and ever since, the interest from the community and bookings to use the space has skyrocketed. There’s also been a huge jump in sales in the new and enlarged gift shop.
“People want to know more about Mother Cabrini’s life,” the Shrine’s Executive Director JoAnn Seaman said.
In 2020, when every other non-profit organization was figuring it out how to survive during the pandemic, JoAnn and other Shrine administrators, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who work with the Shrine and decades-long friend of the Shrine Fr. John Lager O.P.M Cap. decided to move forward with a the Heart of Jesus Capital Campaign. At first, the goal was to raise $4.5 million dollars for the renovation. But as time pushed back the expected completion date and inflation took hold, costs escalated, but so did support. More than $5 million dollars was raised…. in less than 3 years!
Aside from providing more immediate, physical space at Mother Cabrini Shrine, the goal of this project was also to ensure the Shrine as a welcoming place for generations to come.
Both Fr. Lager and JoAnn Seaman know the profound impact the Shrine can have over decades of one’s life. Fr. Lager started visiting the Shrine as a child with his parents. “This Shrine is my go-to place for quiet and inspiration from Mother,” Fr. Lager said. “St. Frances Xavier Cabrini walked these same paths, these same roads, these same steps and struck the rock that this water has flowed from ever since.”
For JoAnn Seaman, her life’s love story was made possible because of Mother Cabrini Shrine. JoAnn and her husband Tim met at Mother Cabrini Shrine. They were married in the Shrine’s chapel. Their children were baptized in the chapel. One of their daughters was married at Mother Cabrini Shrine. And, now, the next generation of the Seaman family…. the grand daughters … were baptized at Mother Cabrini Shrine. “Mother Cabrini Shrine has profoundly has affected the faith of our family,” Seaman said.
“Our girls adore the nuns just like my sister and I do,” Molly Johnson Seaman said. “You can feel that love.. you can feel the kindness that they give to everyone who comes to the Shrine. That same love is what my sister and I received growing up.”
“And showing that love to my daughter growing up, and hopefully to her future kids growing up.. just feels wonderful and it feels like a way to keep the message of Mother Cabrini going,” Hannah Seaman Bailey added.
The land Mother Cabrini Shrine sits on was originally a summer camp for orphaned girls. Mother Cabrini ran Queen of Heaven Orphanage for girls in Denver and wanted a space in the summer where the girls could roam and have fun. After Mother Cabrini’s death and canonization, the land became a Shrine to welcome all people in 1946.
The chapel was rededicated on Saturday, November 18th. Mother Cabrini Shrine is open daily, 7:30-4:30.