Sister Bridget Zanin, MSC - Executive Director
A warm welcome to the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first American Citizen Saint and Patroness of Immigrants and hospital administrators.
My name is Sister Bridget Zanin, MSC. I was born in Brazil and have been a Missionary Sister for over 50 years. I felt a calling at an early age and was attracted to the simplicity and spirit displayed by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the order founded by Mother Cabrini. My true inspiration in joining the Missionary Sisters is credited to my devotion to Mary, the Sacred Heart and a deep desire to have a close relationship with Jesus. In every aspect of Mother Cabrini’s missionary life, she displayed a potent mixture of vibrant spirituality and practical compassion...always motivated by the demands of love.
I am fluent in Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and English. During my life as a Missionary Sister, I have served in many capacities. Some of those roles include Registered Head Nurse, Spiritual Director, Chaplain and Administration.
For the past eight years, I have been guiding the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. It has been an honor and privilege for me to serve in this sacred space where miracles often happen. It has been a great pleasure to meet new friends like you. My hope is that you feel welcome here and can discover a peaceful haven where you can be filled with God’s love, peace and comfort.
The National Shrine originally opened in 1955 and for 47 years was connected to Columbus Hospital in Lincoln Park. The hospital and Shrine closed in 2002. Fortunately, the site was redeveloped and ten years later the renovated Shrine reopened as a new entity at Lakeview Avenue and St. James Place. The Shrine stands as a testament to Mother Cabrini as a woman religious, her life, her holiness, her works on behalf of the most vulnerable in Society.
Along with a stunning chapel, we have an exhibit featuring a replica of Mother Cabrini’s room where she died. Features portrayed in the chapel include large fresco murals telling the story of Cabrini’s life and stunning stained glass windows depicting the miracles that led to her beatification and canonization. The Shrine also contains first class relics of St. Frances Cabrini.
I often hear visitors saying "Why did it take me so long to visit? I never imagined her Shrine to be so awe inspiring. Its beauty is striking!" An interesting and meaningful aspect of my role as Shrine Director is when visitors often relate stories of how one of many institutions established by Mother Cabrini profoundly touched their lives. I am very interested in hearing your story about how Mother Cabrini's legacy influenced your life.
I invite and encourage you to explore the depths of beauty and sacredness that exist within these walls. All are welcome to visit the chapel, meditation garden, exhibit, gift shop, take a self-guided tour or schedule a docent-led tour. You may also attend weekend Masses or any of our many scheduled events. I look forward to seeing you!
With prayerful gratitude for each of you!
Sr. Bridget Zanin, MSC
Executive Director of the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini