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Marianne's relic touring isles

The would-be saint ministered to patients with Hansen's disease

By Leila Fujimori


Mother Marianne Cope traveled little in Hawaii, ministering to Hansen's disease patients in Kakaako for five years before settling in Kalaupapa in 1889 to continue the work of Father Damien until her death in 1918.

But the relic of Blessed Marianne Cope — Hawaii's second candidate for sainthood, after St. Damien — will travel to six Hawaii islands over the next seven days. The relic will be publicly displayed on Molokai beginning tonight in Kaunakakai and tomorrow in Kalaupapa.

Accompanied by Sister Patricia Burkard, the tiny bone fragments, encased in a sealed gold-and-glass case, arrived Wednesday in Hono­lulu from New York. The relic will be brought next Friday to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, where it will remain in a mahogany box.


The relic of Blessed Marianne will be at the following churches in the coming week. Times are for the celebration of Mass.

» Today: 7 p.m., St. Damien Church, Kaunakakai, Molokai

» Tomorrow: 10:30 a.m., St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa, Molokai

» Sunday: 2 p.m., Sacred Hearts Church, Lanai City

» Monday: 6:30 p.m., Christ the King Church, Kahului

» Tuesday: 7 p.m., St. Joseph Church, Hilo

» Wednesday: 6 p.m., Annunciation Church, Kamuela, Hawaii

» Thursday: 7 p.m., Immaculate Conception Church, Lihue

» Next Friday: 6 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, Honolulu


At age 45, Mother Marianne Cope, a hospital administrator, left her order in Syracuse, N.Y., to answer the Hawaiian kingdom's call for religious health care workers to care for leprosy patients and arrived in Kalaupapa as Father Damien was dying, succeeding him as the settlement's spiritual and moral leader.

Her insistence on cleanliness and on hand-washing to prevent the spread of disease was notable at a time when hygiene was not fully understood, Burkard said.

Yesterday the relic made its first stop at Saint Francis School, a part of Blessed Marianne's legacy. The school, founded in her memory in 1924, trained girls to minister to leprosy patients.

Sister Joan of Arc Souza, head of school, shared the story of the mother superior who left New York in 1883, crossed the continent and came to Hawaii with a small group of nuns, knowing they would likely never return.

After listening to her story, sophomore Drew Wilson stopped to take a second look at the relic, impressed with Mother Marianne's efforts in "trying to make life better for people with the disease."

In 2004 the Vatican recognized as a miracle the unexplained cure of a 17-year-old Syracuse girl dying of multiple organ failure. The sisters of Saint Francis prayed to Mother Marianne on her behalf, Burkard said.

Mother Marianne was beatified in 2005 and is one miracle away from sainthood.

A second miracle case attributed to her intervention was sent to the Vatican in 2010 for authentication.

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