On Friday, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and other officials from the Brooklyn Diocese unveiled a new statue of Mother Cabrini at St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church on Hicks Street in Carroll Gardens.
The monument comes off the heels of a years-long effort to construct a statue in honor of Cabrini, an Italian-American nun and activist who was the first U.S. citizen canonized as a Catholic saint.
“It’s a real replica of her presence here so that people can remember what she did in her life,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “She reached out to the people on the margins of society, and that’s our job today. Her courage was great because her faith was great, and even when Mother Cabrini was met with rejection, she never returned anything but love.”
Bishop DiMarzio performed a blessing on the new statue, which depicts Mother Cabrini helping two young children.
Born in Italy in 1850, Cabrini immigrated to New York in 1899 and set to work founding a great number of hospitals, schools, and orphanages throughout the city. She is credited with helping many Italian-Americans find their footing, and her work lives on through the continued humanitarian efforts of the church in New York City.
The idea for a new statue of Cabrini first arose in 2019, when the saint received the most votes in New York City’s “She Built NYC” public art campaign. However, the de Blasio administration did not go through with constructing a statue built in her likeness, prompting harsh backlash from Catholics and Italian-Americans.
Governor Andrew Cuomo reacted to the controversy by dedicating a statue to her in Battery Park on Columbus Day, yet church officials still felt that more action was required. The Diocese of Brooklyn launched a fundraising campaign of its own and raised over $40,000 to build the statue of Mother Cabrini in Carroll Gardens.
“Despite the slowdown caused by the Coronavirus, we are so proud Mother Cabrini’s statue now stands on Summit Street, an area where she once served those in need,” said Diocese of Brooklyn deputy press secretary John Quaglione.
Photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Diocese.