Cabrini supports earthquake appeal

On 10 October, Cabrini presented a donation of $10,000 to the Amatrice Earthquake Appeal, in order to assist the community of Amatrice in recovering from this tragic event.

The disaster claimed almost 300 lives when it struck central Italy on 24 August this year. The small town of Amatrice in the province of Rieti bore the brunt of the devastation.

Cabrini Chief Executive Dr Michael Walsh says Cabrini is pleased to be able to contribute to the earthquake relief fund, in order to assist Italian people whose lives have been devastated in the recent event.

“We know that immigrant communities remain strongly connected to home and it is hard to be so far away when disaster strikes,” he said. “While the media cycle in Australia moves on quickly, people are still suffering and for them, life is a long way from returning to normal. We hope this donation helps to make a difference.”

Cabrini is owned and sponsored by an Italian religious congregation, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred heart of Jesus (also known as the Cabrini Sisters), which was founded in Codogno, northern Italy, in 1880. Today Cabrini Health continues to value its Italian heritage and its contemporary ties with the Italian community.

Cabrini was delighted to present its gift in person to Francesco Pascalis, Presidente of COMITES Victoria e Tasmania. On behalf of the Italian community, Francesco Pascalis, Presidente, COMITES Victoria e Tasmania expressed his gratitude for Cabrini’s gift of support.

“I would like to express on behalf of the Italian community in Victoria and Tasmania the most sincere appreciation for the Cabrini's donation to our fundraising appeal in favour of the Italian people dramatically affected by the August devastating earthquake.”

Italian missionary roots

In 1948, ten Missionary Sisters of the Sacred heart of Jesus arrived at Melbourne’s Essendon airport to take over a small, Catholic, community hospital in Malvern called St Benedict’s, previously operated by the Mercy Sisters. These Sisters had been invited by Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Daniel Mannix (1864-1963) to take over the hospital and to care for the Italian immigrants arriving in Melbourne after the Second World War.

Being migrants themselves, the Cabrini Sisters’ experience in their early years in Melbourne echoed that of the people they had come to serve. They found it difficult to learn a new language, adjust to local customs and fit into the community. With dedication, hard work and support from the Italian community, over the next half century the small hospital grew into a large, modern, in-demand facility serving Melbourne’s inner south-east, now known as Cabrini Malvern.

The invitation had been issued in 1946, at the time of the canonisation of their founder, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. Mother Cabrini had spent her missionary life initially caring for Italian immigrants in New York and later for immigrants more broadly throughout the USA and Latin America. The Cabrini Sisters welcomed this opportunity to respond to the needs of a new wave of Italian migrants seeking a better life in Australia as a continuing expression of their missionary identity.

During 2016-18, we mark three significant anniversaries in the in the life of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and our organisation:

  • 2016 marks the seventieth anniversary of Mother Cabrini being canonised and being declared Universal Patroness of Immigrants
  • 2017 marks the centenary since Mother Cabrini’s death
  • 2018 marks the seventieth anniversary of the arrival of the first ten Cabrini Sisters in Australia