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Colorado celebrated its first 'Cabrini Day.' Here's the story behind the new state holiday

In honor of the life of St. Frances Cabrini, the Colorado state legislature created a new state holiday, and the first one celebrating a woman.

COLORADO, USA — Colorado observed its first Cabrini Day Monday, making it the first state holiday that honors a woman. Signed by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in March, it aims to replace Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.  

Cabrini Day is now recognized every year on the first Monday in October. 

"We are excited for more people to learn about the amazing life of St. Frances Cabrini," the Archdiocese of Denver said in a news release. 

Catholic St. Frances Cabrini's life was committed to supporting the needy, the elderly, immigrants and the less fortunate.

Back in 1910, Mother Cabrini bought land for a summer camp for orphan girls on Lookout Mountain. That's the property where her shrine is today, and it's where something legendary is believed to have occurred. 

"The land had no known reliable source of water, but as the story goes, in September 1912, Mother Cabrini told some of the thirsty, complaining sisters to lift a certain rock and start digging," an article on the Archdiocese's website reads. "The sisters obliged, and uncovered a spring, which has not stopped running to this day. 

"Many pilgrims to Mother Cabrini Shrine believe the water has brought about healing and peace in their lives. Coloradans are blessed to have Mother Cabrini Shrine right in their own backyard as a place to visit and learn more about this great saint." 

When she was in Denver, the Archdiocese said Mother Cabrini ministered to Denver's poor Italian immigrants. She helped establish 67 schools, hospitals and orphanages across the country before her death in 1917 -- one for each year of her life. 

Mother Cabrini was canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946. 

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The Cabrini Day website includes a way to get one of 50 free t-shirts honoring the saint by taking steps to better the world around us. Here they are: 

Take a pledge

Here's the "Cabrini Day" pledge: 

Over the next four weeks, I ______________ in the spirit of Frances Xavier Cabrini, pledge to be kinder and more compassionate and will work to improve the community I live in. I will also take time to care for myself and reflect upon the impact of my actions.

From there, you can print a Cabrini Day Flag to remember the promise you made.

The site also includes an action calendar listing small daily acts. These include everything from forgiving a mistake to visiting your favorite places in Colorado. 

People who complete most of the actions by Nov. 3 can enter to win one of the free shirts. 

> Learn more about Cabrini Day here

> Find this year's flyer here

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