In 1902, Mother Cabrini came to Colorado at the invitation of Bishop Matz to open a school in north Denver. In 1905 the Queen of Heaven Orphanage opened its doors to girls ages two to fifteen.
In 1909 Mother Cabrini purchased some land in Mount Vernon Canyon to establish a summer camp for the girls at the orphanage. She acquired the site at a very reasonable price because it did not have a good source of water. When Mother Cabrini accompanied her Missionary Sisters and the orphan girls to the summer camp, Mother Cabrini pointed her cane to a rock and asked one of the Sisters to lift it. The spring of water was discovered. On that same visit, they hiked to the summit for a picnic lunch and viewed with delight the majestic, snow-topped mountain peaks piercing the clear, blue sky. Mother Cabrini then sent the Sisters and girls to gather white rocks which they arranged on the ground in the form of a heart surrounded by a cross and crown of thorns. "The heart is a symbol of the great love Jesus has for each of you," Mother Cabrini told them. On July 7, 1946, Frances Cabrini was declared a saint. The summer camp became Mother Cabrini Shrine, a place of prayer and pilgrimage in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.
Today, the Shrine continues to provide spiritual nourishment to thousands of pilgrims and visitors who come to seek the peace and tranquility found on this holy ground.
While feeding people's spiritual lives is an integral part of our mission, we also strive to remain true to values and legacy of Mother Cabrini. Her mission was to serve the poor and help the immigrants. We have several programs in place such as giving excess food donated to us to the Jefferson County Action Center on a weekly basis. The Shrine identified the need for a printed, comprehensive resource guide for social services in the Denver Metro Area. We created a handbook and distribute over 2,000 copies each year. They are provided to people who do not have access to a computer and the book is updated on a regular basis . The resource book includes information on where to find food, shelter, clothing, employment and many other services. There is also an online version of the book on our website.
We strive to reach out to the ever-growing immigrant population. We have special services twice a month as well as provide a space for them to build community. The Hispanic community especially will often spend an entire day at the Shrine with their family.
We also participate in the Severe Weather Collection project which is an ecumenical group of churches who provide food, shelter and clothing to the homeless. The Shrine does a drive several times a year to collect warm clothing to donate to the collection.
Mother Cabrini Shrine does not have outside sources of revenue. Donations, gift shop sales, retreat fees, our annual gala and other fundraising programs account for the Shrine's income. We recently completed a capital campaign and have remodeled and expanded our gift shop and conference facilities and most recently our chapel as well as the addition of an elevator and restrooms. Thank you for your support of Mother Cabrini Shrine.