The remains of Saint Marianne of Molokai — “beloved mother of outcasts” — returned to Hawaii yesterday, drawn by a hearse to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu for a ceremony and Mass.
Ste. Marianne Cope was 80 when she died of natural causes in 1918 at Kalaupapa where she served the exiled Hansen’s disease patients. Her remains were exhumed from Kalaupapa in 2005 during her canonization process and taken to Syracuse, New York, where her religious congregation is based. She gained sainthood in 2012 with the Kalaupapa celebration ceremony taking place in January of 2013.
Relocation from New York was necessary because the buildings of the campus where her remains were housed are no longer structurally sound, according to an Associated Press report. The structural problems with the buildings required the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities to move to another part of Syracuse.
It makes sense to keep her remains in Honolulu, as opposed to Kalaupapa, which can be accessed only via plane or mule, Bishop Larry Silva of the Honolulu diocese told the AP.
The remains — a full collection of her bones — arrived Sunday in a casket aboard a United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, said diocese spokesman Patrick Downes. He said the remains have been kept at the St. Francis Convent in Manoa.
A sealed zinc-coated metal box containing the bones will be placed upright in a koa wood and glass cabinet in the cathedral. The display cabinet already contained her relic, a small box of bone fragments that a nun traveling from Syracuse carried to Honolulu in 2011. The relic was taken on a tour of the Hawaiian islands and came to Molokai in May of 2011.