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Cabrini Italians of Melbourne

We have established the Cabrini Italians of Melbourne Fund (CIM) within the Cabrini Foundation, to create awareness of the Hospital’s Italian heritage and to raise funds for Cabrini.

Francesca Cabrini was born in Northern Italy in 1850. Inspired by her deep faith in Jesus Christ, she was a woman of great compassion and courage. She saw her life as a mission to relieve suffering and serve those in need – particularly the poor and excluded. She established health, education and care centres in the USA and Latin America, Europe and England, becoming an inspiration to all whose lives she touched. She was the first US citizen to be canonised a saint.

At age 30, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to show God’s love for people through their compassionate action in the world. Today their mission reaches around the world, and includes Cabrini Health in Australia.

Our Cabrini story started in 1948, when ten Missionary Sisters arrived in Melbourne to take over St Benedict’s, a small hospital in Malvern. The journey from Italy took 10 days as the plane could only fly during daylight hours. The Sisters thought they were taking over a fully functioning hospital but unfortunately, this was not so. Without losing spirit, they worked hard to equip and make the place presentable so that they could re-open the facility.

At the time, Melbourne was not the multicultural city that we know today. People were cautious of these Italian sisters who dressed and spoke differently to the Australian religious of the time. Despite their best efforts, in the first few months there were many complaints about their strange ways. However, the Sisters recognised there were people in need and, with courage and determination, they laid the foundation for the comprehensive healthcare system Cabrini Health has become today.

To honour Cabrini’s Italian heritage, we are keen to engage with the original migrant community that the Cabrini Sisters were brought here to support.

To make a donation towards the Cabrini Italians of Melbourne please call (03) 9508 1380.

– Rosemarie and Paul Spano