Sunday, February 19, 2012

2 new American Saints - Blessed Marianne Cope

Blessed Marianne Cope, the 3rd American Saint
Just after the ceremony of the 22 Cardinals was finished, the Pope informed the congregation that he would canonize seven new saints, among them two Americans: Blessed Marianne Cope was born on January 23, 1838 and came to America from Germany as a one-year old baby with her family, who became American citizens while settling in Utica, New York. Marianne became a member of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Syracuse, N.Y. After 50 different religious organizations declined the offer, in 1883 Mother Marianne Cope accepted the invitation to go to Hawaii with 6 others nuns to care for the lepers on the island of Moloka’i. Mother Marianne met Fr. Damien de Veuster for the first time in 1884.  In 1887 a new government took charge of the islands and closed the Oahu hospital and receiving station, thereby reinforcing the policy of isolating patients at Molokai.  After an offer from the Bishop to provide funds for establishment for the now-homeless women and girls at the Molokai settlement, the government asked for Mother Marianne's help.  Her eager acceptance took her to Molokai just several months before the death of Father Damien. 

Blessed Marianne next to the deceased body of  Fr Damien
Her move there in November 1888 was intended both to care for the dying Father Damien, and to assume his burdens. After his death Blessed Marianne took charge of the Boys Home at Kalawao for 5 years until the arrival of the Sacred Heart Brothers.  She spent the rest of her life caring for the lepers and died of natural causes on August 9, 1918 at the age of 80. Unlike Fr Damien, she never contracted leprosy. Blessed Marianne Cope was beatified by Pope Benedict in 2005. Fr Damien himself was canonized on October 11, 2009.

She will be canonized on October 21, along with Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and 5 others. In tomorrow’s post I will give a brief biography of Blessed Kateri.

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