Cabrini was born in San Angelo, a town in Italy. Her birth name was Maria Francesca Cabrini. In a family of thirteen children she emerged as hardworking, intelligent and determined to be a foreign missionary. She went further to qualify as a teacher, after being educated at the Daughters of Sacred Heart School but suffered a major blow through the loss of her parents, right after her qualification (Ascension Research Center, n.d).
The desire to accomplish her mission was initially hampered by ill health and opposition from her superiors in the Catholic Church in Italy. However, through faith and determination, she began by establishing Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart and what followed was an evolution of mission centers all over Italy, with the climax being in Rome (Ascension Research Center, n.d).