Rep. Mazie Hirono Press Release
Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (HI-02) today was joined by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), and two Republicans, Congressman Richard Hanna (NY-24) and Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) in introducing a House Resolution honoring Mother Marianne Cope for her life’s legacy of compassionate care and dedication to those she served at the Hansen’s disease settlement at Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai.
“Even at a time when partisan disagreements too often dominate our headlines, it’s heartening that Democrats and Republicans can come together and agree that Saint Marianne’s remarkable life of service should be honored. I welcome and am grateful for the support from my colleagues across the aisle,” said Congresswoman Hirono.
Mother Marianne was canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on October 21, 2012, by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. Catholics from Hawaii and across the country traveled to the Vatican to witness the historic event. She joins Saint Damien of Kalaupapa among the 12 American Catholic saints.
“Mother Marianne Cope dedicated herself to a lifetime of selfless service. Her tireless compassion directly improved the lives of the suffering and forgotten,” said Congresswoman Hirono.
Hansen’s disease, which is also known as leprosy, damaged the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes of those with the disease before a cure was discovered. Native Hawaiians, who largely lacked immunity to the disease, were disproportionately affected. Those with the disease were forcibly exiled by the government beginning in the mid-19th century to the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula on Molokai. Mother Marianne’s Sisters of St. Francis and other religious communities were often the only ones who would care for the physical and spiritual needs of the Hansen’s patients.
“Mother Marianne’s incredible legacy will forever be connected with the history of Hawaii. At a time when Hansen’s patients were shunned and exiled, she courageously opened her arms in the name of human dignity and compassion. She serves as a shining example and inspiration to us to be of service to others. In Mother Marianne, her service was of such extraordinary depth, leading to her canonization and the recognition and honor she deserves, but never sought,” said Congresswoman Hirono.
Mother Marianne died at the age of 80 of natural causes at the St. Elizabeth Convent at Kalaupapa and was buried on the grounds of Bishop Home in 1918.
To watch Congresswoman Hirono introduce the resolution on the House floor, click here.
To see 11 related stories about Mother Marianne Cope, type “Mother Marianne” in the search bar at the top of The Molokai News home page.