Sr. Josephine Pomini, MSC, composed a beautiful letter that recounts her memories of Frances Cabrini. Dated May 5, 1918, Philadelphia, the letter tells the story of how Josephine came to one of the first orphanages opened by Mother Cabrini and her Sisters. The orphanage, or asylum, as Sr. Josephine calls it, was originally named Manresa. Located in West Park, NY, Manresa was previously owned by the Jesuit Fathers who used it for their novitiate. Mother Cabrini purchased the property from the Jesuits in 1890. The site was renamed the Sacred Heart Orphan Asylum.
“At the age of sixteen months old my mother died. I was therefore put into a Protestant home to be cared. But when my relatives found out where I was, they took me out and thought of putting me into a Catholic home. Our dear and beloved Mother had first then opened the dear house of Manresa. The Sacred Heart had inspired our dear Mother to open this first mission, which was a place to shelter the poor and needy little children who were left orphans by their parents, and came to seek shelfter under the roof of our dear beloved Mother. I was one of these poor little children. The first to enter the orphanage.”
“When at the age of five years there she received me with open arms and welcomed me as though she received a great treasure. This was charity above all charity. I remember well when the Asylum was first opened, we hadn’t enough clothes to dress with, and our dear and charitable Mother took off her underskirt and had two dresses made for both my sister and I. It was of a dark brown color mixed with black. The day I left dear Manresa, I kissed that dress many times, and I wanted to take it home with me, but the sisters said not to because they wished to keep it as a remembrance of the first dress made in manresa dn out of our dear beloved Mother’s underskirt. What charity more than this could she have done for her poor little orphans than to strip herself of her clothing and give it to the poor?”
Sr. Josephine Pomini’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