St Marianne Cope – another Pacific Island saint

On Sunday Blessed Marianne Cope was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI at a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica.

St Marianne died in 1918 of kidney and heart disease at age 80. She dedicated 30 years of her life, from 1888 to 1918, helping Hawaiian-born patients suffering with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) who were exiled to the Kalaupapa peninsula on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai.

The canonisation ceremony included the presentation of “relics” to Benedict.

Sharon Smith carried one of the bone fragments exhumed from Cope’s original grave site in 2005 at Kalaupapa’s Bishop Home.

Smith had been wasting away with pancreatitis in 2005 in a Syracuse, N.Y., hospital founded by Cope. A stranger named Sister Michaeleen Cabral pinned a packet of soil from Cope’s Kalaupapa grave to Smith’s hospital gown and began praying for a miracle.

Smith eventually recovered, and last year the Vatican declared it the second miracle needed to elevate Cope to sainthood.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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