Even though she was the public’s top choice to be memorialized by New York City’s “She Built NYC” program, America’s first saint won’t be getting a statue in her honor, a panel led by the city’s First Lady has decided.
Francesca Xavier Cabrini, who founded an orphanage, a school for girls and 67 charities in the 1880s, received the most votes from the public, but won’t get a statue – in favor of others, such as an LGBTQ activist – who were not among the public’s top choices, The New York Post reports:
“Francesca Xavier Cabrini and other female icons were denied honorary statues after a group controlled by First Lady Chirlane McCray tossed out the revered Catholic sister in favor of more women of color and a drag queen-turned-LGBTQ activist.”
“McCray, the wife of Mayor de Blasio, then formed a blue-ribbon panel to review the results and make its own recommendations on the seven winners, who will be memorialized by six monuments in the city, funded by about $5 million in taxpayer money.
“She and former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen made the final call, selecting jazz legend Billie Holiday, desegregation activist Elizabeth Jennings Graham, Latina doctor Helen Rodriguez Trias and LGBTQ advocate Sylvia Rivera, who was born Jose and described herself as a drag queen.”
Catholic New Yorkers attending Cabrini’s namesake church have expressed outrage at the snub of the Italian-born, patron saint of immigrants, as has at least one city councilman, The Post reports:
“Councilman Justin Brannan fired off an angry letter to McCray’s office on Monday this week, saying, “Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who received more nominations from New Yorkers than any other woman during the process, has been completely ignored.”
“My simple question is this: why open this for a public vote and then ignore the results?” the councilman asked.”
Cabrini’s remains are entombed beneath the altar of New York City’s St. Frances Cabrini Shrine.