Mother Frances Cabrini will get the respect — and the statue — she deserves, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday night.
In a video address to the Columbus Citizens Foundation, Cuomo said that on Columbus Day, he will unveil a new statue honoring Cabrini.
The Post snapped pictures early Saturday of the Cabrini statue on a pedestal — covered in blue tarp in Battery Park City’s South Cove — waiting to be uncovered.
Cuomo stepped in to build the Cabrini statue with state funds when controversy erupted after City Hall failed to include the beloved patron saint of immigrants on the list of famous women to be honored with statues as part of first lady Chirlane McCray’s “She Built NYC” program.
The snub came even though Cabrini received the most nominations for a monument from the public.
Outrage in the city’s heavily Catholic communities reached a fever pitch when Italian-American actor Chazz Palminteri called McCray’s decision “racist.”
Palminteri later apologized during a heated exchange with Mayor Bill de Blasio on the radio last year, but the actor persisted in arguing that excluding Cabrini just didn’t make sense.
The Cabrini statue will stand behind the Museum of Jewish Heritage, facing the sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
Cuomo told the Columbus Citizens Foundation that the unveiling of the Cabrini statue will highlight New York’s Columbus Day celebrations, which were forced to go virtual because of safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor will be honorary grand marshal of the virtual event.
“And while there is much sadness this year and I am disappointed to not be at the gala and not to march in the parade, there is a silver lining,” Cuomo said.
“This year we unveil a magnificent monument to our Italian American legacy and that monument will stand for all time,” he said.
“Last Columbus Day, if you remember, one year ago, we said that we could work together and create a statue of the blessed Mother Cabrini. And now in honor of Columbus Day, we will do just that.”
Cuomo said Mother Cabrini is the “personification” of Italian American achievement, having founded 67 schools, hospitals and orphanages.
“She served the poor and the immigrants. She had boundless energy and unlimited capacity and she was a model for female empowerment before the expression was ever used – doing all of this in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Cuomo also stood up for statues honoring famous Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, whose legacy has come under fire for his treatment of indigenous people.
“Now, Italian Americans have two great statues in New York City — the Christopher Columbus statue and the Mother Cabrini statue, and they will serve to educate a new generation of New Yorkers and all the international tourists who come here on the proud and true legacy of Italian Americans, who we are, and what we have done to make this country that we love so much even better,” he said.
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