BLESSING AND OFFICIAL OPENING OF CABRINI HOSPITAL, BRIGHTON, CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART ON SATURDAY, 23RD MAY 2009 AT 10.30 A.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am delighted to be here with Professor Peter Phelan, the President of your Board, your General Manager, Dr. Michael Walsh, and staff, patients and families, as I bless the magnificent work which has been done to renovate Cabrini Brighton.
You are providing a marvellous opportunity for private health care in our southern suburbs and following the example of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini to bring the compassion of Christ into the lives of those who need it most.
The Word of God which we have just read highlights how Jesus Christ, who suffered more than any of us suffer, enters into the life of each person. For many years we have known the existence of Cabrini Malvern - more recently of palliative and residential care, of rehabilitation, and now Cabrini Brighton will focus on cancer services, women’s health and specialty surgery. The day oncology unit is also open with special work in the sleep clinic, endoscopy, high dependency and in diagnostic services. We can truly say that Melbourne’s bayside suburbs will have a world-class hospital on their doorstep in this important area.
One thing that I have found about Cabrini has always been the high standard of care, the continuity of staff and the ability of the Cabrini Sisters to communicate to their lay collaborators the spirit of their Foundress.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini born on 15th July 1850, died on 22nd December 1917, known as Mother Cabrini, she was the first American citizen to be canonised by the Church. She had been born in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano in Lombardy, the youngest of thirteen children of Agostino and Stella who were farmers. She remained in delicate health throughout her sixty-seven years.
When she tried to enter the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, Mother Giovanna Grassi refused admission, even though she saw potential in her, because of her frail health. She said: “Your call to establish another Institute that will bring new glory to the heart of Jesus.” She was rejected by the Canossian Sisters, supported her parents until their death and in 1871 she became a public school teacher at the request of her vows. In 1877 she took vows and became the Mother Superior of the House of Providence Orphanage at Cododno where she taught.
In 1880 after the closure of the orphanage, she and six others took religious vows and she came under attention of Bishop Giovanni Scalabrini of Piacenza after they had established seven homes, a free school and a nursery, and of Pope Leo XIII.
By 1889 Pope Leo sent her to New York City where she founded an orphanage, known today as the Saint Cabrini Home, the first of sixty-seven institutions she founded in New York and throughout the States. Her energy and dedication, her outreach to people in need, was incomparable.
In the sixty-one years that the Cabrini Sisters have been here, aided by gifted and courageous collaborators, they have established a network of hospitals and care facilities with a strong commitment to just employment, to the creation of a community based on Christian values, and to serving the marginalised, whether by birth or by sickness.
Cabrini Brighton is a gracious initiative which is seriously needed in the southern suburbs. I am particularly grateful to the Sisters and their collaborators for all that they continue to do and for the highest standards of care and welcome, which they demonstrate so courageously and generously.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.