Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s panel tasked with erecting a statue to honor Mother Frances Cabrini has narrowed in on two potential sites Friday — one in Battery Park and the other in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
From both sites, visitors would be able to view the statue of Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants, as well as the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor in the background — both powerful symbols for welcoming newcomers to the country.
Cuomo’s panel, just appointed last month, is moving quickly after Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray came under fire for excluding Cabrini from a list of women honored under the city’s “She Built NYC” program.
Cabrini was overlooked even though she received the most nominations for recognition.
The controversy reached a fever pitch when Italian-American actor Chazz Palminteri accused McCray’s decision to exclude Cabrini “racist.” He later apologized during an exchange with the mayor.
“I’m excited that we’re getting started. We thank Gov. Cuomo for taking the initiative to give Mother Cabrini the respect she deserves,” said commission co-chairman Angelo Vivolo of the Columbus Heritage Coalition.
“Hopefully a statue honoring Mother Cabrini will be unveiled by Columbus Day next year,” he added.
Cuomo also announced the State will provide $750,000 for the Cabrini project and will accept proposals from artists for the design of the new statue.
Vivolo said so far the commission is looking at two park waterfront sites on government property. He said other sites may also be inspected in the future.
Over the course of her life, Mother Cabrini established 67 different institutions including hospitals, schools and churches that bear her name — including a church in Brooklyn.
The Italian native was naturalized as a US citizen in 1909, and canonized as St. Frances Xavier Cabrini on July 7, 1946, by Pope Pius XII, as the patron saint of immigrants.