Mother Cabrini Park

Mother Cabrini Park

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This park honors Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), a Roman Catholic missionary, and the first American citizen to be canonized. Cabrini was born in a small town near Lodi, Italy. At the age of 30, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, dedicating the group to the ministry of the poor. In 1889, Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) sent Cabrini and her missionaries to the United States to aid Italian immigrants. In Manhattan, Cabrini taught at St. Joachim’s parish, the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii, and the Transfiguration Catholic Church. She also taught at St. Rita of Cascia in the Bronx as well as the Church of St. Stephen (now Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen’s Church) in Brooklyn.

The Missionary Sisters opened schools, hospitals, and orphanages throughout the United States. On this site, in 1892, Mother Cabrini established her first school in the northeast. Charles E. McDonnell, Bishop of the Brooklyn Diocese, acquired the house that stood at President and Van Brunt Streets and Mother Cabrini named it St. Charles School in his honor. Mother Cabrini was highly regarded during her life, but she became famous after her death. In 1938, Pope Pius XI (1857-1939) beatified Frances Cabrini, the first step toward sainthood. She was canonized eight years later by Pope Pius XII (1876-1958). New York City honored Cabrini upon her beatification by naming Northern Avenue, in Washington Heights, Cabrini Boulevard. The grand bronze doors of St. Patrick’s Cathedral include a relief sculpture of Mother Cabrini, and a Roman Catholic parish on Roosevelt Island is named for her.

A local law designated this property Mother Cabrini Park in 1992. Parks acquired the .287 acre plot in 1993, and in 2000, Parks received the adjacent .18 acre parcel, extending the parkland to the corner of President and Van Brunt Streets. The park features benches, a spray shower, and play equipment with safety surfacing. Stone sculptures of an eagle and turkey adorn the gateposts at the entrance to the park.

Park Information

Directions to Mother Cabrini Park

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