Happy Mother Cabrini Day, Colorado! Today marks the first of what should become a revered, non-controversial holiday for generations to come.
This new celebration may catch some Colorado residence by surprise. A surprising number of people have never heard of Mother Cabrini. Nearly everyone knows about Christopher Columbus, the man honored by Columbus Day before state legislators last year replaced that occasion with Mother Cabrini Day.
The elimination of Columbus Day was a move that saddened and infuriated a significant portion of Colorado's Italian-American community. Columbus, a long-revered historical character, has come under increasing scrutiny as younger generations question his civility and humanity.
Colorado House Bill 131, which ended Columbus Day and established Cabrini Day, explains it like this:
"Although Christopher Columbus is recognized as a voyager who arrived in what is now known as the Caribbean Sea, he never traveled to or entered the territory that became the United States... In 1492 he was welcomed by the indigenous Taino people... Fifty years later, the Taino people had been nearly exterminated by Columbus and his successors."
Few historic figures can withstand a level of scrutiny that holds them to today's standards of civility and cultural sensitivity. Humanity improves as time goes on. In the 1400s, among Indigenous tribes and European explorers, the rules were often "conquer or be killed."
Today's woke culture takes troubling joy in erasing from history those individuals who could never meet today's standards. It sets an interesting precedent. Humanity 300 years into the future may consider anyone who burned fossil fuels a barbaric killer of nature and wildlife. No human living today would pass that future woke test.
For better or worse, Columbus Day is gone in Colorado and probably won't return.
Regardless of anyone's position on that decision, pro or con, everyone should celebrate Mother Cabrini Day.
Mother Cabrini, aka Frances Xavier Cabrini, was an Italian American and naturalized American citizen with a history no one can legitimately assail. She came to Colorado in 1902 and opened the Queen of Heaven Orphanage for girls in north Denver. She acquired a rural property on the eastern slope of Lookout Mountain in Golden to serve as a summer camp for the orphanage. The property had no access to water until Cabrini pointed to a rock and told the girls to look beneath it. They discovered a natural spring that serves the property to this day.
As host of the Mother Cabrini Shrine, the orphan camp draws visitors from around the globe.
Mother Cabrini devoted her life to selflessly improving the lives of others. In that pursuit, she founded 76 schools, hospitals, orphanages, and other philanthropic institutions throughout the United States, Central, and South America.
She is the first U.S. citizen canonized by the Vatican. She is known as the Patron Saint of Immigrants.
Incredibly, Mother Cabrini doesn't make the cut for some of the wokest of the woke. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, worked with the New York Cultural Affairs Commission to honor seven women in a new "She Built NYC" program.
A poll to allow New Yorkers to identify the heroes chose Mother Cabrini as the overwhelming first-place finisher. But she was not what McCray and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl had in mind. They snubbed the nun to promote a slate of abortion-rights activists and others with causes more fashionable than helping children in need.
New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo saved the day, pledging $750,000 in state aid to build a statue of Cabrini. Finkelpearl resigned under mounting pressure from New York's massive Italian-American community.
Without further comment on Columbus, Colorado's Mother Cabrini is exactly the kind of person we should celebrate and teach about in schools. She was a champion of humankind and spent her life making our world a better place. Happy Mother Cabrini Day, Colorado!