Faces of Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC

Over two decades ago in 1999 Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC was established in the Lower East Side of Manhattan as a ministry of the Cabrini Nursing & Rehabilitation Home, which was founded and operated by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. CIS-NYC became an independent organization in 2012 after the Cabrini Nursing & Rehabilitation Home closed. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants, was the founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and it is in her spirit that CIS-NYC functions within our mission to empower immigrants, their families and their communities through education, access to essential services, civic participation and community building.

CIS-NYC initially offered ESL classes and emergency food assistance and later began offering basic legal assistance, referrals, and other essential services for immigrant families. The services offered at CIS-NYC have continued to evolve over the years to best meet the needs of our clients and their families. Multi-lingual CIS-NYC staff members and volunteers from diverse backgrounds now provide a wide range of essential services, including: direct immigration legal services; case management and short-term crisis intervention counseling; one of the largest weekly food pantries on the Lower East Side; information and referrals to community resources; engagement in community organizing and advocacy; monthly Know Your Rights information workshops; financial and educational support for undocumented students; and family outings.

Faces of CIS-NYC

In celebration of two decades of service in 2019 we released a series of stories and photos from CIS-NYC community members, clients, staff members, and supporters that capture the spirit of our work. Click on each photo to see the full story. You can also read Mother Cabrini’s inspiring story here.

Photo Credit: Diana Bejarano, Los Herederos Inc.


What is the meaning behind the violet?

You may have noticed that in some of the photos our community members are holding violets. When Mother Cabrini was young she would make paper boats, fill them with violets, and float them in a river near her home. She would imagine that the violets were missionaries going to help the poor and vulnerable. Today, violets serve as a special symbol and reminder of the missionary legacy she left to us.

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