Thanksgiving Came A Week Earlier

This year on November 13, 2022, I woke up to a “Congratulations on 10-years at SVdP!”

Naturally, a message like this will move you to ponder and invite you to reflect and self-evaluate.

My usual way of engaging in this type of reflection starts with checking what day it is – November 13th. Then probably because of my upbringing, my second step is to check what saint’s day is celebrated or remembered today – probably seeking for some greater wisdom or insight. To my surprise, November 13th is the Feast Day of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, or as she is commonly known – Mother Cabrini.

For those who know the story of this extraordinary woman, nothing will surprise you. Yet for me, today became a day of affirmations. You see, 10-years ago, I was working at the Catholic parish in Lakewood, Washington named after this saint, also known as the Patron Saint of Immigrants.

Little did I know 10-years ago that St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle | King County, through its Centro Rendu programs, would become a beacon of hope, a light in the darkness, for so many Hispanic/Latino immigrant families. Our educational programs have opened new doors of opportunity for many people and our humble spaces in our stores have allowed for accessible places where families feel welcome, safe, and understood.

Today, reflecting on the feast day of St. Frances Cabrini, and on 10-years at SVdP; I cannot help but feel a sense of JOY in knowing that the Spirit that accompanied Mother Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants; also accompanies us in our work with immigrant families at Centro Rendu.

Mother Cabrini dedicated her life to serving the Italian immigrant community at a time of great need. She first arrived to New York, where Sisters of Charity tended to her needs and those of her small delegation of Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Eventually, she made her way across the U.S., building schools, hospitals, and more; later arriving to Seattle where she, an immigrant herself, became a U.S. Citizen.

Mother Cabrini understood, as did Rosalie Rendu, Daughter of Charity and mentor to our SVdP young founders, the importance of education as a way out of poverty.

Both of these women understood the delicate balance between working to “hunt down poverty” and the importance of “serving in sacrificial love.” Both women were fearless advocates and loving teachers. Through prayer, silence, and reflection both found this passionate balance.

In my thanksgiving prayer this year, I will be lifting up my heart in joy knowing that Mother Cabrini would be thrilled to walk the spaces of Centro Rendu, reassured that SVdP continues to care for immigrant families who so desperately need it.

Thank you to each of you for your care and support of our mission,

Mirya Munõz Roach

St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director