Mother Marianne Cope, a St. Francis nun who ministered to Hansen’s disease patients in Kalaupapa for more than 30 years, will be canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church during a ceremony on Oct. 21, according to her congregation.
The Vatican announced the canonization date today and declared Marianne’s birthday, Jan. 23, as her feast day, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities said.
The ceremony will end a process that began 37 years ago in 1974 to declare Marianne a saint. Since the process began, the Vatican has recognized Marianne’s intercession for the 1993 recovery of a New York girl dying of multiple organ failure and for the unexplained recovery in 2005 of a New York woman whose organs were being destroyed by an infection. Pope Benedict XVI declared Marianne a saint in December.
Marianne, known as the “beloved mother of outcasts,” entered religious life in 1862 in Syracuse, N.Y. and came to Hawaii in 1883 to provide health care to patients with Hansen’s disease, commonly known as leprosy. She arrived in Kalaupapa in 1888, about a year after Father Damien died of Hansen’s disease. Damien became a saint in 2009.