Remains of Saint Marianne return to Hawaii

| August 1, 2014 | 5 Comments

The gravesite of Saint Marianne Cope can be found in Kalaupapa while her remains are now permanently stored at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu.

The gravesite of Saint Marianne Cope can be found in Kalaupapa while her remains are now permanently stored at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu.

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.
Saint Marianne Cope

Saint Marianne Cope

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.

Category: Kalaupapa and Father Damien, News

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  1. Paul says:

    Will someone please explain to me why her remains aren’t being returned to Kalaupapa. It seems to me that Bishop Silva is hard at work glorifying his cathedral but I don’t see what a Honolulu church has to do with her sainthood, life or work.

    • molokainews says:

      I agree, Kalaupapa would be more appropriate. As Bishop Silva explains, the relics and remains will receive more visitors in Honolulu. I guess the church feels it needs to bring more attention to its saints.

  2. steve says:

    i have to disagree with the bishop- travelers intent on seeing a REAL saint will venture to whatever end of the earth they need to.

    pretty disappointing for those who travel too- not to see the contrast between the absolute beauty of kalaupapa and the misery of those she served.

    this is a bit off topic, but the painted rock at the base of the white pillar on the right is in a shot on a lono tune filmed by molokaimatt on youtube.

  3. Paul says:

    It’s just a pity that the Catholic church had to surround her sainthood (and Damien’s) in such a carnival of magic and ghoulishness. There was no need to ascribe phony “miracle cures” to her in death in order to highlite the wonder and saintliness of her life and work. It speaks for itself much louder than all the woo-woo. The repeated unearthings and transport of her remains hither and yon is nothing short of creepy. Silva’s retention of her remains in Honolulu where they would presumably generate more revenue is reprehensible. Eeuuch!

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