A new biopic on the life of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, titled Cabrini, is set to release in theaters in the Spring of 2024. This highly anticipated film from Angel Studios, the same company that produces The Chosen, will focus on the life and works of Mother Cabrini, especially her devoted efforts to tend to Italian immigrants in New York City at the turn of the 20th century.
Mother Frances Cabrini founded the female religious congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1880. In just seven years, the good works of Cabrini and her community caught the eye of Pope Leo XIII, whom she met in 1887. At this meeting Mother Cabrini had hoped the Pope would allow her to head to China as a missionary, but instead he sent her to the United States, where droves of Italian impoverished immigrants were arriving in New York City and needed aid.
Mother Cabrini and her sister companions would make their way to New York in 1889, where almost immediately they began to establish social services for the influx of Italians. As the mission became more successful, the sisters began opening schools and orphanages, although there were many social struggles they faced. Over the next three decades, her devotion to children led to the establishment of some 67 schools, orphanages, and hospitals around the world.
The struggles she faced in establishing herself and the community in the United States will be of central focus in Cabrini.
In order to ensure historical accuracy of the life story of this beloved Catholic saint, the filmmakers worked with Msgr. Paul Bochicchio, a priest from New Jersey whose family history is entwined with Mother Cabrini’s.
Msgr. Bochicchio’s grandmother was a contemporary of Mother Cabrini who assisted the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus establish themselves in New York. This connection has led the monsignor to delve into the life story of Mother Cabrini, becoming something of an expert on the saint’s life along the way.
According to Jersey Catholic, each revision of the script was sent to the priest for approval and he was on set for much of the filming in case questions arose.
Of the movie, Msgr. Bochicchio commented to Jersey Catholic:
“She was not a strong woman physically, she was weak, but she was strong in spirit. [The movie shows how she was] bold in a good sense of the word, where she set her mind to something and she stood up respectfully but very clearly to those who opposed her.”
He added, “I think one of the things that makes her timely, and particularly in regard to the film, is that immigration is uppermost in people’s minds today. She’s the patron of the immigrants. She’s also a great woman leader. In an age when women are trying to find their place in the Church, she could be a great guide,” he said.
Visit Angel studios to learn more about Cabrini, and look for this major motion picture to hit theaters in March 2024.