From Catherine of Siena to Mother Cabrini: The Enduring Appeal of Italian Female Saints

Dec 02, 2020 635

Wednesday December 9 at 7pm EST. Organized by the Westchester Italian Cultural Center. Click here for more info & to register. Presented by Christine Contrada. $10. Columbus Day in 2020 was a very different affair for New Yorkers. Overshadowed by a continuing pandemic, there was no parade. Instead, Governor Andrew Cuomo took the opportunity to unveiled a touching statue in New York City’s Battery Park created to honor Mother Cabrini.

Cuomo noted emphatically in his speech that “today the lesson of Mother Cabrini is even more vital because of the difficulties that we are facing,” before going on to reflect that “the pressure, the stress, and the difficulty reveal a true character of people and society.” To understand why Cabrini appeals to us, our character and our society, it is helpful to look to the past.

There is no timeless model to explain what makes a saint a saint. Starting with the case study of Frances Xavier Cabrini, who left Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Italy for New York in 1889 to help Italian immigrants overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties, this talk sets out to explore the ways in which female sanctity in Italy changes to reflect the historical setting.

This spirited consideration of female sanctity and piety focuses on medieval and Renaissance Italy. Influential Catherine of Siena, rebellious Arcangela Tarabotti, and others, offer a spotlight on the experience of women which begs a timely question. In times of crisis, who does society choose to venerate?

SOURCE: Westchester Italian Cultural Center

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