(CBS4) – Coloradans are celebrating the first ever Cabrini Day after lawmakers passed a bill which was signed into law last spring. The Cabrini Shrine in Golden has celebrated her philanthropic work for years.
A missionary from Italy, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini founded numerous orphanages and schools across the world before coming to Colorado in the early 1900s.
“When she came here she fell in love with Colorado,” said Sister Lucy Panettieri of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. “Many of the children were in the street. The bishop was very worried, and he invited her and she said ‘yes,’ and she came here.”
Mining was a booming business, but workers were dying of lung disease and leaving many children behind. Cabrini started an orphanage and school in Denver.
It was her own health history that pushed her to help the children appreciate the value of exercise.
“She thought that the children in the summertime would need fresh air,” Panettieri said. “And she found this beautiful place right here, Mt. Vernon.”
The property she bought was believed to be waterless.
“She said ‘Stop here. Let’s take out these rocks.’ And everybody, the orphans, the sisters, everybody helped,” said Panettieri.
What they found?
“A spring of water which has never stopped.”
Shrine officials say Cabrini Day is the “first paid state holiday in the nation that recognizes a woman.”