One year ago (October, 2019), Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the appointment of the Mother Cabrini Memorial Commission to oversee the creation of a statue honoring Mother Cabrini. Now, a year later, the monument was unveiled on October 12th, 2020, Columbus Day, during Italian Heritage Month, in Battery Park City, overlooking Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
“This memorial will honor the legacy of Mother Cabrini—a great New Yorker and Italian-American—and the commission chose a site that perfectly symbolizes her commitment to helping new Americans settle in the United States,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We want this memorial to pay tribute to the charity and good will she spread to countless others in her lifetime, and I look forward to seeing the designs that the artists propose to capture that spirit of her generosity.”
Cuomo stepped in to build the Cabrini statue with state funds when controversy erupted after City Hall failed to include the beloved patron saint of immigrants on the list of famous women to be honored with statues as part of first lady Chirlane McCray’s “She Built NYC” program.
The sculpture artists, Jill Burkee and Giancarlo Biagi have collaborated since 1975. The artist team maintain studios in New York City, Eastern Long Island, and Italy. Burkee spoke of the significance of two-children in a paper boat, steadfastness in the face of adversity, a culture brought to America by immigrants. Biagi continued in the news conference prior to the unveiling, “we hope that our sculpture brings joy in a moment of contemplation.”
Mother Cabrini arrived in New York Harbor in 1889, with six Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, nine years after she founded the religious congregation in her native Italy. She became the first naturalized U.S. citizen (in 1909) to be canonized a saint, by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946. That was after she spent nearly 30 years opening schools, hospitals, orphanages and missions across her adopted land.
Mother Cabrini passed away in 1917, and left a mark in New York City. Her mortal remains are displayed underneath the altar at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.
The Mother Cabrini Statue and Memorial Site is located in an area south of South Cove, overlooking the Statue of Liberty near the Hudson River in Battery Park City.
Join the Italian American Museum in celebration of the 76th annual Columbus Celebration Weekend, with Governor Andrew Cuomo named as Grand Marshal of the virtual event. The 90-minute broadcast special will air on ABC7/WABC-TV New York and Stream Live at abc7ny.com on Monday, October 12, 2020 from 12:30 to 2:00pm. In addition, Dr. Anthony Fauci will be honored with Namesake Annual Columbus Citizens Foundation Medical Scholarship.
Check in on the renovations of the Italian-American Museum on Mulberry Street in Little Italy.
Let’s take a look at a recent monument to women, unveiled in August, 2020 on Literary Walk in Central Park by Monumental Women.