Monday, November 12, 2018

'If we turn away from our brothers and sisters, we turn away from God'

     The contrast would look trite in fiction.
     Facing Lincoln Park, the luxurious Lincoln Park 2520, where condo prices soar toward $6 million a unit. The building, opened in 2012, has two pools, a movie theater and a private garden. Designed by Chicago architect Lucien LaGrange, the center 39-story tower is flanked by a pair of 21-story wings, given a distinct Parisian air with its metal mansard roof.
     Nestled behind — the building actually wraps around it — and sharing the same address is the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. It’s the former chapel of Columbus Hospital, shuttered in 2001; when the 3-acre hospital site was sold to developers, the stipulation was the shrine would be preserved.
     And it is, having re-opened in 2012. No pool, but the first American saint’s upper right arm bone displayed at the altar in a glass and bronze reliquary. The bedroom where she died in 1917. Her bed, where prayers for the sick are sometimes tucked under the pillow, and it is not
Sister Bridget Zanin
unknown for a sick child to be laid upon the mattress in hope of a cure.
      Born in Italy, Cabrini dreamt of working in China, but was sent to the United States instead, arriving in 1889. The contempt held for Italian-American immigrants at that time can hardly be overstated. They were seen as not white, lower than even the hated Irish, sometimes lynched — the largest mass lynching in the United States was of 11 Italian-Americans in New Orleans in 1891.
     Cabrini, undeterred by all this, traveled the country, starting convents, schools, orphanages and hospitals. She was made a saint in 1946 — 100,000 people attended the celebratory mass at Soldier Field....

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  1. Which came first in your intended visit: the Elks memorial out the Cabrini shrine?

    I've been under the impression that Elizabeth Seton was the first American saint, but I've now learned she was the first *native-born* saint.

    1. I was going to the Elks, to look at their Armistice mural. The docent told me about the Cabrini Shrine. I didn't know it was there, two blocks south.

  2. Last time I was up in that area, there was still a hospital there. Seems like the big hospitals keep expanding and the smaller ones disappearing. Not sure if that nets out to a good thing or a bad one.



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