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As Colorado continues to see an influx of migrants, the state celebrates a new figure in place of Christopher Columbus.
In 2020, Gov. Jared Polis replaced Columbus Day with Cabrini Day, in honor of Frances Xavier Cabrini, the Catholic patron saint of immigrants.
“Oh my gosh, blessed. The first woman in Colorado and USA, so we are more than happy to have her, and have a holiday for her,” said Luz Maria Villa, congregation member at the Mother Cabrini Shrine.
Cabrini Day, which falls on the first Monday in October, is the first paid state holiday in the country honoring a woman.
“Mother Cabrini was a remarkable woman. She had so much determination and so much grit and so much faith, that’s what fueled her. She helped so many people during her lifetime, especially immigrants and children,” said Joann Seaman, executive director at the Mother Cabrini Shrine.
Italian-born Cabrini worked to help the poor, the sick, and immigrants across the world. In 1910, she purchased land on Lookout Mountain in Colorado, where she built a convent and a camp for orphan girls.
“There’s just this beautiful oasis so close to the city,” said Seaman.
Today, that site is home to a shrine in her honor, and a newly renovated chapel.
“There are 373 steps that lead up to the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the top of the hill, along with prayer gardens, meditation, and chapels,” said Seaman.
“The Spanish community feels so welcome in this beautiful place, in this holy place,” said Villa.
The Mother Cabrini Shrine holds a Spanish mass every week, and welcomes those from all walks of life.
“People just flock to the shrine for this two o’clock mass on Sunday. And I believe its cause Mother Cabrini is the patroness of immigrants and she cared for them and she loved them and they know that and they know they’re welcome here,” said Seaman.
“I’m from Mexico so I’m an immigrant. And she’s everything for us. Everything we ask to her, she answers,” said Villa.
The Mother Cabrini Shrine will be celebrating Cabrini Day Monday with a noon mass.