Missionary Sisters in the Stella Maris Province: Burbank, CA

Having seen her good works in the east, the Bishop of Los Angeles wrote a personal letter to Mother Cabrini asking Mother to send some of her Sisters to the San Fernando Valley of California. “I feel that a great deal of good could be done by them in this city in our work among the Italians.”  Mother Cabrini sent two Sisters before her and in the summer of 1905, Mother arrived in Los Angeles.  She purchased the home of a former department store magnate and opened the Regina Coeli Orphanage.  The Orphanage served also as a gathering place for the Italian immigrants who found hospitality and Sisters willing to assist in any need.   The following year, Mother Cabrini bought 120 acres in Burbank and on the site lined with grape vines and olive trees, opened a summer house for children who were at risk for tuberculosis.   In 1933 the preventorium became Villa Cabrini Academy-a school for girls.  Though Villa Cabrini closed in the 1970s, the Villa Cabrini Alumnae and Friends group continues to keep the memories of the Villa alive.  Sr. Regina Palamara, MSC continues the Cabrinian charism working in parishes and with a very active group of Cabrini Companions.  The shrine where Mother Cabrini prayed daily remained for decades as a landmark visible to travelers in the east San Fernando Valley.  The shrine survived several threatening wildfires before being moved to the grounds of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Burbank.  The shrine is maintained by the Italian Catholic Federation .

Submitted by:  A. Schwelm, Assistant Library Director

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