Born in Italy in 1850, Frances Xavier Cabrini arrived in New York City in 1889, along with thousands of other European immigrants.
But instead of seeking a more prosperous life for herself in America, she came to New York to launch schools, orphanages, and hospitals for the poor—particularly in the impoverished Italian neighborhoods springing up all over the city.
By 1896, she had opened a school on the Lower East Side, an orphanage upstate, and Columbus Hospital in the East 20s. (It eventually morphed into Cabrini Medical Center, which closed in 2008.)
She even became a U.S. citizen in 1909 and lived for a time in Washington Heights.
Her death in 1917 was followed by beatification in 1938. Pope Pius XII then canonized her in 1946 and made her the patron saint of immigrants.
Now, she’s back in Upper Manhattan.
Her body—well, actually a wax replica of it, according to The New York Times—has been on display in a glass box at a shrine at Mother Cabrini High School on Fort Washington Avenue for decades.