The Dyker Heights Post Office will now bear the name of Saint Frances Cabrini after President Donald Trump signed the name change into law on Dec. 3.
The Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini Post Office Building, on 13th Avenue and 84th Street, will receive a plaque with its new name in the spring, USPS said.
Local Congressman Max Rose introduced the bill to change the post office’s name after New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, declined to build a statue in honor of the beloved saint, even though Saint Cabrini “won” the most votes in McCray’s public statue building initiative.
The snub infuriated the parishioners of Bensonhurst’s Saint Frances Cabrini Church, who had mobilized en masse to vote for their patron saint.
“It makes no sense,” said Rosalie Grazaino, who had attended the church for 50 years. “What happened to democracy?”
Outrage about the snub snowballed as Catholics and Italian-Americans caught wind of the issue, and blasted McCray’s omission of the beloved saint as an act of discrimination. Saint Frances Cabrini, known as Mother Cabrini, moved from Italy to New York City in the late 19th century, where she founded dozens of schools, hospitals, and other social service organizations for immigrants.
After large-scale protests and spats with Mayor Bill de Blasio about the decision, Gov. Andrew Cuomo swooped into the fray on Columbus Day of 2019, and announced that he would work with the Brooklyn Diocese to fund a statue of the saint in Battery Park. The statue was unveiled in October.
Rose joined the fight later in October, when he introduced a bill on the house floor changing the name of the Dyker Heights Post Office in Cabrini’s honor.
The bill initially received some pushback from locals, who argued that the slow and oftentimes unreliable post office was a stain on Cabrini’s name. However, many Catholics who had fought for the city to fund the saintly statue said they were thrilled with the renaming.
“I think it’s fabulous!” Bensonhurst resident Ursula Agota, a parishioner at Saint Frances Cabrini Church, told Brooklyn Paper earlier this year. “Have to thank Max!”
Following Trump’s approval of the name change, the Postal Service held a conference on Dec. 22 — the anniversary of Cabrini’s death and her feast day — to celebrate the post office’s new name.
“We believe that Mother Cabrini embodies the spirit of the postal service in many ways,” said USPS representative Amy Gibbs. “She served the public with equal opportunity. She did not discriminate. She was resourceful and proud, much like our organization.”
Father Thomas Caserta, pastor of St. Bernadette Church in Dyker Heights, said the honor was especially timely.
“Mother Cabrini’s example is needed now more than ever, as we all live through a dark and challenging time,” he said. “Women like her are a reason for hope, that not only can we survive our difficulties, but we can thrive as brothers and sisters of each other.”