Construction of New Cabrini Greenlit in Lincoln Park

Mother Cabrini Shrine Chicago

Mother Cabrini Shrine Chicago

This past Thursday (November 17, 2011), construction began on the new National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (2520 North Lakeview Avenue)  in Lincoln Park.

Better known locally as “Mother Cabrini,” the nun wanted to go to China to establish orphanages and help the poor there.  Instead, she was sent to America, to help the burgeoning nation during its early-century turmoil, coping with a flood of Italian, and Austro-Hungarain immigrants.   Eventually, she became an American citizen, and later the first American saint.

Cabrini died in Columbus Hospital in Chicago in 1917.  The room where she died became a shrine for her devotees, and eventually a chapel within the hospital.

A couple of years ago, Columbus Hospital was torn down to make way for the luxury residential development known as Lincoln Park 2520, but the shrine portion of the building was preserved.  When its restoration by Sullivan, Goulette and Wilson is complete, instead of being in the middle of a hospital, the shrine will be in a small park.

Completion is scheduled for Spring of 2012.

This building has been added to our interactive incomplete map of projects going up in Chicago.

Previous coverage:

Read the full press release below.

Restoration Commences for the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL – After ten years of anticipation, The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus proudly announce that construction and restoration of the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini will commence on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 2520 N. Lakeview Avenue.

For the past ten years, the Shrine, which was once the chapel of the former Columbus Hospital, has been covered with canvas and supported by scaffolding in an effort to preserve it.  The intention to reopen this historic and sacred location and continue its mission has been a decade-long passion of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The Sisters have worked tirelessly with Ricker Murphy Development and the architectural firm of Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson to save this jewel.

Once the Shrine was no longer surrounded by Columbus Hospital, the opportunity arose to create a quiet, urban garden area outside of the luxury high-rise currently being constructed.  Scheduled to open in the spring of 2012, the restored Chapel, Shrine and urban garden will offer individuals of all faiths a peaceful sanctuary for prayer, worship, reflection and an opportunity to learn about Mother Cabrini, the Universal Patron Saint of Immigrants and the first American citizen to be Canonized.

“The reopening of the Shrine provides a remarkable opportunity for Chicagoans and those devoted to Mother Cabrini to be spiritually renewed and deepen their relationship with God, “says Sister Joan McGlinchey.  “Mother Cabrini is a modern day Saint who embodies the idea of putting your faith into action on behalf of the most vulnerable.  We are pleased to introduce a new generation to this holy woman who lived, worked and died in Chicago and made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many through her life and mission,” Sr. McGlinchey adds.

Once reopened, the Shrine will continue to offer those who visit an opportunity to experience God’s love, and be a center for prayer, worship, reflection and learning about the life and holiness of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. In her lifetime, this Italian born woman made an indelible difference locally and internationally.  She tirelessly looked after the spiritual, educational, and healthcare needs of immigrants and others everywhere she served. She founded a total of 67 institutions, including schools, orphanages, hospitals and parish ministries on three continents.  Today, the Missionary Sisters are dedicated to carrying on the Mission of Jesus in the spirit of Mother Cabrini.

For more information on Mother Cabrini and plans for the reopening of the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini visit


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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