Tag Archives: Blessed Marianne Cope

Saint Marianne Cope

Marrianne CopeToday’s the feast of one of our great American saints, Saint Marianne Cope, a Franciscan sister who spent 35 years ministering to people living with Hansen’s Disease (called leprosy) on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. Cope is part of a small group of American saints.

Saint Marianne (1838-1918) was a close collaborator of the famous Saint Damian DeVeuster of Molokai.

Cope’s venerable body was recently returned to the Diocese of Hawaii.

Bishop Larry Silva said this in a homily:

When Mother Marianne made her famous statement that she was hungry for the work, it was not because she needed more to do.  It was because she knew that her own deep hunger pangs for the true bread of life would be better satisfied if she met the Eucharistic Lord in those she fed, in those she clothed, in those she nursed, and in those least of the least whom she set free from a prison of self-pity, no matter how justified it might be. Who will make the rest of the world as hungry as was our beloved St. Marianne?

More about her inspiring life can be found on her order’s website, the Sisters of St. Francis:  https://sosf.org/st-marianne-cope/

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem:

To the Reverend Sister Marianne,  Matron of the Bishop Home, Kalaupapa. 

To see the infinite pity of this place,
The mangled limb, the devastated face,
The innocent sufferers smiling at the rod,
A fool were tempted to deny his God.
He sees, and shrinks; but if he look again,
Lo, beauty springing from the breasts of pain!
He marks the sisters on the painful shores,
And even a fool is silent and adores.

Healing the leper in all of us…Jesus touches our hearts

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The Church prays today,

O God, who teach
us that you abide in hearts that are just and true, grant that we may be so
fashioned by your grace as to become a dwelling pleasing to you.

What other grace do we need but the grace to abide in Christ? The priest’s prayer at Mass in the anamnesis tells us and God that He lives hearts that are just and true.

The Gospel today relates something that calls to mind the work of Saint Damian of Molokai and Blessed soon-to-be-saint Marianne Cope who worked with and evangelized lepers in Hawaii. Their love was extroverted. No doubt the Lord’s touch and the saints’ humanity was likely the first substantial, real contact these “outcasts” experienced. The Lord’s touch of the leper is as the Prayer over the Offering prays, it “cleanses and renews” for the sake of our salvation. So much for us, too. May the Lord touch our uncleanness and sinfulness so that we may be close to Him.

What other than love and compassion did the Lord have for the marginalized? The medical leper and the spiritual leper always have on their lips Psalm 32: “I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.”

2 new Blesseds added US liturgical calendar

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At their annual
meeting, the US bishops voted to have add to the US liturgical calendar Blessed
John Paul II and Blessed Marianne Cope, both are optional liturgical memorials
in the proper of saints. October 22 is designated to honor Blessed John Paul and January 23
for Mother Marianne.

The Church sets dates for liturgical “memorials are typically set for the
date of the person’s death, which in Mother Marianne’s case was Aug. 9, 1918.
However, that date is the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith
Stein), who died Aug. 9, 1942. Jan. 23 is the optional memorial in the United
States for St. Vincent de Paul. That date was transferred from Jan. 22 so that
the U.S. church can observe the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of
Unborn Children — which itself shifts to Jan. 23 when Jan. 22 falls on a
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Relatives of saints attract attention

When I met the son of Saint Gianna Berretta Molla in May I thought, “Wow, this is amazing, I’ve made another connection with a saint!” Of course, in the back of my head I recalled that Saint Gianna’s husband died this past spring. We usually don’t think of saints and their families these days. In some ways, and perhaps in every way, abstracting a saint from his or her biological family (and friends) makes that saint too vague and plastic.

It wasn’t until recent times that technology opened a new facet of a holy person’s life by making it possible to have more accurate portraits and voice recognition. Video and audio files reveal the concrete person so as not to rely exclusively upon someone’s “recollections” or hagiography no matter how accurate these memories or details may be. How different are our spiritual relationships with the likes of Saints Padre Pio, Josemaria, Blesseds John XXIII, Mother Teresa, Marianne Cope, and the Servant of God John Paul II  from the likes of Saints Benedict, Dominic, Francis and Agatha! Why mention this? I was reading the local newspaper’s obits today and stumbled upon the death notice of Dorothy Lorraine Bessette Gazzola, 89, the grand niece of Blessed Andre Bessette. The family published Bessette-Gazzola’s visiting her grand uncle in Montreal when she was a child. She knew a saint! She hugged and kissed a saint! She could relate personally with saint! How great is that!!!

Blessed Andre is due to be canonized a saint in October.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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