GOLDEN, Colo. – Coloradans are honoring the life of Mother Frances Cabrini.
Monday, state offices were closed for Cabrini Day, a holiday that started in 2020 after lawmakers passed a bill replacing Columbus Day.
Cabrini Day honors the life of Mother Cabrini, the first U.S. citizen to be canonized a saint by the Catholic church.
She helped establish 67 schools, hospitals and orphanages across the country, including some in Colorado.
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After months of construction, the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden opened its newly expanded and renovated chapel this week, just in time for a special mass celebrating the holiday.
“It’s so important for people to know who Mother Cabrini is because of the remarkable woman that she was,” said JoAnn Seaman, executive director at the Mother Cabrini Shrine.
“I think what's most important about this day is the fact that she is an American saint, the first,” said Father John Lager. “But also, she worked here in Colorado and she made a profound difference.”
Seaman said what makes the shrine even more of a special place is that Mother Cabrini purchased the property in the early 1900s.
“She actually walked and prayed and worked on this property, and I think that's also part of what makes it so special, that a Catholic saint was right here on this property," said Father John Lager. "The shrine really honors that. It gives people a place to come to learn more about her.”
This year's celebration was extra significant because it was the unveiling of the shrine's new upgrades, which have been years in the making.
Since 2020, there have been renovations in the works that are about to be completed.
The chapel was recently expanded and renovated, the gift shop was upgraded and they added new conference facilities.
“It is such a beautiful new space and we are so thankful to everyone who made this happen,” said Seaman.
"There's just so much to offer so much peace, and tranquility and I think in today's world, that's really important. I think we could all use that," said Seaman.
The $6 million renovation is almost complete. There are still some improvements being made to the landscape that are expected to be done in about a month.