Mother Francesca Xavier Cabrini, founder of Seattle's Cabrini Hospital, is declared a saint on July 7, 1946.

  • By Kate Stoner
  • Posted 6/01/2000
  • Essay 2323
See Additional Media

On July 7, 1946, the Roman Catholic church declares Mother Francesca Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), founder of Cabrini Hospital in Seattle, a saint. She is the first American to be declared a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1916, Mother Francesca Xavier Cabrini founded Columbus Sanitarium in Seattle, which became Columbus Hospital and was renamed Cabrini Hospital in honor of its founder. The Seattle hospital closed in 1990 due to rising medical costs and financial pressure caused by the hospital's practice of providing service to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Located at the southwest corner of Madison and Boren streets, the former Seattle hospital is now known as the Perry Building.

Born in Italy on July 15, 1850, Mother Cabrini took her religious vows in 1877, and founded a new order in 1880, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. By 1887, the order had seven convents, and in 1888 it was formally recognized by the Vatican. She emigrated from Italy in 1889 to work among poor Italian immigrants in the United States.

She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1909. In her lifetime she traveled extensively, establishing 67 institutions (convents, schools, orphanages, and hospitals) throughout the United States, Europe, and South and Central America, the last of which was the hospital in Seattle in 1916.

Mother Cabrini died in Chicago on December 22, 1917. In 1946, Pope Pius XII declared her a saint.


The Book of Women's Firsts: Breakthrough Achievements of Almost 1,000 American Women ed. by Phyllis J. Read, Bernard L. Witlieb (New York: Random House. 1992); Mildred Tanner Andrews, Woman's Place: A Guide to Seattle and King County History (Seattle: Gemil Press. 1994), 121-122.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You