Kalaupapa patients and nuns reunite

Published On: Oct 14 2012 10:59:24 PM HST
SYRACUSE, New York -

Kalaupapa patients reunited with nuns who served at the settlement at St. Francis' Mother House in Syracuse, New York on Sunday.

The Hawaii group also traveled to Utica for lunch at the Mother Marianne’s Soup Kitchen and to visit the future saint's hometown.

Mother Marianne was born Barbara Koob in Germany. Koob became Cope when the family naturalized, and was known as Sister Marianne Cope when she entered the church.

In those days, girls as young as 14 were allowed to enter the convent as postulants. Marianne had to wait until she was 24. Her father's illness forced her into the wool factories to support her family of 10.

“Because of her sacrifices, she’s set an example. No matter what happens, there’s a purpose for us and with God," said Sister Davilyn Ah Chick.

Her influence in Hawaii will always be remembered.

“I call her a true daughter of Molokai. If anyone wanted to claim that title, Daughter of Molokai. She was not from the islands, but she was a true daughter,” added Sister Theresa Laureta.

At St. Joseph's hospital, which she founded, sisters carry on the Franciscan nursing tradition. Medicine has carried on in the Cope family as well. Mother Marianne’s great, great grand nephew Dr. Paul DeMare is one of several descendants making the Rome pilgrimage.

“I'm hoping people can learn by example to help people who need help,” said DeMare.

“There’s such pride in the fact that Mother Marianne has reached this pinnacle, that she is part of us and we are part of her,” said Sister Grace Anne Dillenschneider.

The convent has lovingly preserved her rooms and her private journals, even her expense accounts.

At the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a huge mosaic stands in one of the enclaves depicting the good works of Saint Damien and Mother Marianne. The mosaic was made when Marianne was beatified or made blessed. The congregation pitched in and sent for a revised title from the tile-makers in Italy. In a little more than one week, Saint Marianne will be more appropriately named on the cathedral walls. 

If you recall for Damien’s canonization, the Vatican verified the miracle healing of Hawaii’s Audrey Toguchi.


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