When she came of age, she wanted to become a nun herself, but she was rejected for health issues.
A priest suggested that she try teaching at an orphanage.
She proved to be wildly successful, caring for many children. In fact, when the orphanage closed several years later, the local bishop asked Frances to found a new religious order to care for poor children.
Her reputation continued to spread so much that the Pope himself soon asked her and her order to serve as missionaries.
That is how Frances found herself, around fifty years old, with six other nuns in a very strange land, working among the poor and displaced. The girl who had been rejected as a nun and went on to start her own order established as many as 67 school, hospitals, and orphanages on three continents.
Still working in her mid-sixties, Frances contracted malaria and then died in that strange land to which the Holy Father had personally sent her: dying in Chicago on December 22, 1917 and being buried in New York City.
Just over twenty years later, on this very day, Frances was beatified. When she was canonized in 1946, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first American citizen to be formally declared a saint.
(adapted from an earlier post)