On Tuesday Colorado passed legislation to replace Columbus Day with Cabrini Day because, according to the bill sponsors, it doesn’t represent the community, CNN reports. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini established 67 schools, hospitals, and orphanages in the U.S.and South and Central America throughout her lifetime and is the patron saint of immigrants. Cabrini – who died in 1917 – was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church on July 7, 1946, becoming the first U.S. citizen to be canonized as a saint. Cabrini’s accomplishments aiding humanity stand in stark contrast to the genocide of indigenous people Christopher Columbus is known for.
“The pain that they (indigenous people) endure and the historical trauma endured by indigenous people in this country as a result of what Columbus has put in place is real,” Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, one of the bill’s sponsors, told CNN. “And this is a step forward in erasing that pain.”
Sen. Chris Hansen, one of the bill’s sponsors, told CNN that Cabrini is a local Colorado hero because of the work that she did. While there are holidays honoring prominent women like Dolores Huerta and Rosa Parks, this would be the first paid state holiday in recognition of a woman, according to Benavidez, CNN reports. The bill will take effect no later than the beginning of August and the holiday will take place on the first Monday in October. The Italian-American Roman Catholic nun is commonly referred to as Mother Cabrini has two miracles attributed to her: she restored sight to a child who had allegedly been blinded by excess silver nitrate, and she healed a terminally ill member of her congregation.
“We need holidays to recognize the contributions of women across history,” Hansen told CNN.