Catholic day of recognition for Mother Marianne Cope is Monday
Hawaii Catholics will celebrate a new liturgical feast day Monday in honor of a woman whose path to sainthood included her work among leprosy victims a century ago.
Mother Marianne Cope will be remembered at a 5:30 p.m. Mass at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral on Fort Street Mall. Hawaii's Bishop Larry Silva will preside at the service, which is open to the public. Members of the Sisters of St. Francis will participate in the service.
Cope brought a group of Franciscan nursing nuns from their Syracuse, N.Y., headquarters to Hawaii in 1883. They were responding to a call for help from the kingdom of Hawaii, which faced an epidemic of leprosy in the mid-1800s.
After five years of providing medical care for patients on Oahu, Cope went to Kalaupapa in 1888 and lived in the remote Molokai settlement, where leprosy victims were quarantined, until her death in 1918.
The Catholic Church has recognized Cope's life of heroic virtue by elevating her through the first two steps in the three-step process of being named a saint. She was beatified, declared "blessed" in a May 14 ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Her birth date, Jan. 23, was established on the church's liturgical calendar, indicating that she will be remembered at Masses said that day in the places where she served, Hawaii and Syracuse.
Last January, the Sisters of St. Francis had Cope's remains exhumed from her burial place in Kalaupapa and taken to Syracuse, where a shrine will be built.
The feast day of Blessed Marianne Cope will be celebrated by Kalaupapa residents and Franciscan sisters at a 10 a.m. Mass tomorrow at St. Francis Church in Kalaupapa. Bishop Silva will preside at the Mass.