St Marianne Cope

Many came to pay respects at the return of a saint’s relics in Hawaii. Believers attended a mass to honour a woman who devoted her life to helping the sick.

St. Marianne Cope was born Barbara Koob, and her family emigrated to the United States of America when she was only twelve months old. She became a nun as an adult, taking the name St. Marianne, and in 1883 she went to Hawaii in order to look after those who had developed leprosy. She was known for her selfless living, and her intercession, which was praying on the behalf of others. Never giving a thought to her own needs and her own concerns, St Marianne died at the age of eighty in 1918. She finally became a saint in 2012 when the Vatican officially recognised that two miracles occurred after her personal intercession.

Many have heralded her return to Hawaii, including some of her relatives. Meg Burnett, a descendant of her family, appreciated the return saying, “She’s home. She’s where she belongs.” Other members of her spiritual family, including current patients in the medical centre where she served were respectfully grateful. “She represents the people who went before me. She took care of a lot of them,” honored Makia Malo, a current patient at Kalaupapa where St. Marianne was interred.

Although the remains of St. Marianne Cope were moved to New York, where she had grown up before accepting her missionary to Hawaii, they have now returned to the scenes which filled her life, and where she helped generations of people who were ostracised by society. A Mass was held in the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. Many hundreds of people attended the religious service in order to pay their respects to her, and many kissed the box that was enwrapped in a Hawaiian funerary cloth.

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