Since Pope Benedict XVI made it official on Dec. 19 that Blessed Mother Marianne Cope would become a saint, the Molokai Catholic Community has been waiting to hear when.
On Saturday, the date of the ceremony was announced: Oct. 21. Mother Marianne’s feast day of Jan. 23, her birthday, was also announced on Feb. 18 by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.
Mother Marianne will join six others who will also be made saints on Oct. 21 by Pope Benedict XVI: Jacques Berthieu, a French Jesuit; Pedro Calungsod, a Filipino lay catechist and martyr; Giovanni Battista Piamarta, an Italian priest; Maria del Carmen (nee Maria Salles y Barangueras), the Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching; Anna Schaffer, a German lay woman; and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk woman who converted to Catholicism, who will become the first Native American canonized as a saint.
In early December, the cardinals and bishops on the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes for Saints announced a second miracle attributed to Cope’s intercession. It took place in 2005 when Sister Michaeleen Cabral, of Syracuse, met Sharon Smith, who was suffering from pancreatis following a kidney transplant. Sister Cabral encouraged Smith to pray to Mother Marianne, the former Syracuse Franciscan leader who spent 35 years at the Kalaupapa settlement. Smith, now 65, recovered completely.
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.
Attending the canonization ceremony in Rome will be Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva and eight Kalaupapa patients and caregivers.
The official tour is tentatively scheduled to run from Oct. 14-23. It will begin with a visit to Syracuse, N.Y., home of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, which Mother Marianne joined in 1862. A shrine and a museum dedicated to her are located there. Besides heading into Rome and Vatican City for the canonization, travelers may also go to Florence, Italy.
Seawind Tours & Travel, which is organizing the official tour, will have packages with visits to Syracuse and Florence as options, as well as a Rome-only itinerary.
Seawind took 546 people from the 50th State to St. Damien’s canonization in October 2009.
Go to www.seawindtours.com/blessedmariannecope for updates.