Kalaupapa residents receive audience with pope in preparation for Sunday’s canonization of Blessed Marianne
Kalaupapa’s nine Hansen’s disease patients now in Rome had the opportunity to meet Pope Benedict XVI yesterday.
These patients, along with their caregivers and Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva, are part of the official tour that will be in attendance at the Vatican on Sunday when Blessed Mother Marianne Cope becomes a saint of the Catholic Church. Yesterday they had a front row seat for the “papal audience” attended by thousands of people crammed inside St. Peter’s Square.
So far, more than 200 Hawaii residents made the trip. Prior to traveling to Rome, the group visited Syracuse, N.Y., home of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, which Blessed 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.
Once canonized at a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica, Mother Marianne will be known as Saint Marianne Cope. She died in 1918 after following in the footsteps of Saint Damien who was canonized in October 2009.
Blessed Marianne dedicated 30 years of her life to helping the patients in Kalaupapa. She arrived at the isolated peninsula in 1888, one year prior to the death of Saint Damien. In 2005, Mother Marianne’s remains were exhumed and relocated to the chapel at St. Anthony Convent in her home parish in Syracuse.
Blessed 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.
One of the Molokai residents who will be in attendance at the canonization on Sunday is Greta Martinez, librarian at Kaualapuu Elementary School. She will be keeping a journal of her experiences and will share them with The Molokai News. Keep checking The Molokai News to see her observations and photos from this historic event.