POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 9, 2011
KALAUPAPA » Kalaupapa residents are pleased that a nun who cared for exiled Hansen's disease patients stands to become another saint with ties to the remote settlement.
Blessed Marianne Cope, known as the "beloved mother of the outcasts," arrived at Kalaupapa in 1888, about year after Father Damien died of Hansen's disease. Damien became a saint in 2009, and on Tuesday the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints recommended her canonization.
It's remarkable to have two saints with ties to Hawaii, said Patrick Downes, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.
"We are so very happy for Mother Marianne," the Rev. Ambrosius Sanar of St. Francis Church in Kalaupapa told the Maui News. "And while of course it is nice, we continue to pray for those few of us still here."
About a dozen patients still live on the peninsula even though the quarantine was lifted in 1969. Those who are able will be at Marianne's canonization in Rome, which is expected next year, the newspaper reported Thursday.
The pope was expected to sign the necessary documents for her to be proclaimed a saint sometime this month, Downes said.
"I'm proud of what's happening now," said Gloria Marks, a Hansen's disease patient who operates a tour company at the settlement. "It's only in Hawaii we have two saints — and only in Kalaupapa."
Pilgrimages to Kalaupapa have been increasing because of Damien and Marianne, Marks said. The peninsula is accessible only by plane or mule.
The Vatican has already recognized Marianne's intercession for the unexplained cure of a New York girl dying of multiple organ failure. The Vatican Medical Board ruled unanimously the second miracle is an "inexplicable medical recovery."
The Vatican must authenticate the second miracle for her to be declared a saint.