Mother Cabrini + the Irises

Last fall we had a surprise pregnancy. We started gearing up to have 2 babies under 2 in our home, with excitement and some trepidation. The Friday before Veterans day weekend, 11 weeks pregnant, I took the 11 month old to daily mass. She was fussy so we went to look at a saint statue I couldn't remember the name of (no plaque or label and my mom brain hadn't been able to figure out for the last 6 months or so). That statue looked right at me and her name hit me like a ton of bricks: Frances Xavier Cabrini. Which is quite a name, and it was so striking that I went home and read everything about my new friend on Wikipedia. 

The next day I started bleeding. The Doppler at the midwife's couldn't find a heartbeat, and the ER ultrasound confirmed that our baby had been dead for a few weeks. Over the next few days I gave birth at home and we had a burial for our second child we named Frances Xavier Fiat. I would wake up in the middle of the night and cry, and one time I heard, or dreamed, so distinctly, Frances saying, "I'm leaving now. Thank you." CS Lewis wrote that the dead are very matter of fact. And when I found a prayer written by Mother Cabrini, I knew that we are exactly the same personality, she's just waht  I would be like if I were way more holy. I imagined her holding my baby for me.

One of the hardest parts of the miscarriage was feeling like I didn't give enough. And I gave everything I had. Maybe I could have been more present in the moment. But I tried so hard. We went to daily mass. I ate when I felt sick. I took care of Adelaide when she wasn't sleeping at night. But I could never give her everything I wanted to give her, and what I did give seemed so small.

I was afraid that I wouldn't even have flowers to take to Frances' grave on her due date. But out of all the 30+ irises that I planted last fall when I was morning sick, there is one beautiful stem with 3 buds on it. I thought she'd be born when those irises bloomed. But as it turns out, it was a different gift. Because of God's mercy, I always have something to give. He will give me what needs to be given to my children. That's why I heard Frances say "thank you." Because whatever I give matters. 

saint frances cabrini

I never met my daughter, and I obviously never met Mother Cabrini either. But in the church where Frances and I and Adelaide went to mass almost every day, right in the back where we sat, there is a stained glass window of Mother Cabrini leading a little dark haired girl in a pink dress. Those two souls are giving me hope that I'll make it one day to meet them. And they taught me that my motherhood is enough. My best will be enough for my toddler and this new baby I'm carrying too, because I can trust God to give.

A Prayer for a Peace of Mind
by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free of all needless, anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to you so that Your will may be my will.

Sara is due with her third baby in December 2020!

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