Sr. Riccarda De Cola’s Recollection of St. Frances Cabrini’s Love of Nature

In a letter dated December, 1978, Sr. Riccarda De Cola, MSC recounted her memories of Mother Cabrini. Sr. Riccarda wrote, ” [Mother Cabrini] enjoyed animals and I witnessed her speak to some of them. Although she wasn’t aware of my presence, one day, I saw and heard her talk to a little sparrow perched on a barrel near her. She called one of the Sisters to fetch some bread for the bird. Believe it or not, the bird waited all that time and she kept on talking to him. When Sister came back with the bread, Mother fed the bird from her hand and then it flew away.
She received a beautiful peacock as a gift from the Sisters in Chicago. She had him put in the backyard. She would come out and call him by saying, “Peacock! Peacock!” He liked that and would display his beautiful colorful fan for her. Another time she was sitting on the back porch when a chicken came near. She asked for bread again in order to feed the chicken. The chicken went up the steps to her after eating from her hand. Mother said, “Go now” and the chicken stepped down, step by step, and went.

Sr. Riccarda’s letter is part of the collection in the Cabriniana Room in Holy Spirit Library at Cabrini College.

Submitted by: A. Schwelm, Assistant Library Director

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