St Marianne Cope (1838-1918) was born in Heppenheim, Germany. At one year old, her family emigrated to New York, US. She attended the local parish school until the eighth grade when, as the eldest child and because of her father’s invalidity, she worked in a local factory to support her family.
In 1862, St Marianne joined the Sisters of St Francis. There she established various immigrant schools, becoming a teacher and School Principal. Later she was involved in the founding of two hospitals and became governor of one. It was in 1883 that she accepted a plea from King Kalakaua of Hawaii to care for thousands of leprosy sufferers; it is said that numerous other local and foreign organisations had already refused his request. As the then Governor General of her Order, she replied to the King saying:
I am hungry for the work and I wish with all my heart to be one of the chosen Ones, whose privilege it will be, to sacrifice themselves for the salvation of the souls of the poor Islanders… I am not afraid of any disease, hence it would be my greatest delight even to minister to the abandoned ‘lepers’.
St Marianne Cope’s Feast Day is 23rd January, the day of her birth. She is the Patron Saint of Hawaii and those with leprosy and other outcasts Eg. HIV/AIDS.
St Marianne Cope:
Pray for us that we will remember the needs of the poor and marginalised in our daily prayers and actions.
Glory be to the…