HONOLULU – On October 21, 2012 Mother Marianne was canonized as Saint Marianne Cope by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. Saint Marianne Cope is only the second person, after Father Damien, who had served in Hawaii to be canonized and she is only the 11th American citizen to receive the Roman Catholic Church’s highest honor. Saint Marianne’s earthy remains arrived at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Vatican now recognizes the Honolulu Cathedral with this new honorary status “Basilica” in recognition of its historic and spiritual significance.
On August 11, 1918, nearly a century ago, an article in the Honolulu Advertiser on Marianne Cope, says: “Seldom has the opportunity come to a woman to devote every hour of thirty years at Molokai to the mothering of people isolated by law from the rest of the world. She risked her own life in all that time, faced everything with unflinching courage and smiled sweetly through it all; she was a heroine in life; a martyr in death.”
In 1883, Mother Marianne Cope received a plea for help in caring for ‘leprosy sufferers’ from King Kalakaua, after more than 50 religious congregations had already declined, her answer was “I desire to accept this work in the name of the great Saint Francis.”
Cope left Syracuse, New York, bound for Hawaii to care for the islands’ sick and poor, particularly the victims of Hansen’s disease. Mother Marianne never returned to New York. While in Hawaii Cope established Malulani Hospital on Maui in 1884, became responsible for the Kapiolani Home for Girls on Oahu in 1885, the Bishop Home for Girls at Kalaupapa in 1888 and the Boys’ Home at Kalawao in 1889. Mother Marianne Cope died in 1918 after 35 years of dedicated service to the people of Hawaii.
Vice Speaker John Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, and Lower Kalihi) authored a bill to designate January 23 of each year as “Saint Marianne Cope Day” in Hawaii.
The bill was signed into law as Act 3 on April 1, 2014.