Thursday, June 26, 2014

Saint Damien Celebrations. Hawaii



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Saturday, July 20, 2013

St. Marianne Cope, the woman who received a piano from Robert Louis Stev...



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The Big Roundtable   Miracle   By David Zax


It was a little over a decade ago that Audrey Toguchi, a retired Hawaiian schoolteacher, first visited Father Damien’s grave on the island of Molokai. Passing through the gate in a low cobblestone wall, where stray cats sometimes rested in the shade of St. Philomena Church, Mrs. Toguchi and her two sisters entered the graveyard. A few palm trees twisted towards the sky; beyond those stretched the open sea. Mrs. Toguchi walked to the side of the church and came to the grave, a tall marble monument festooned with rosaries and leis. She began to silently pray. Please, Father Damien. Put in a good word for me.
She had not traveled far. As an airplane climbs above Honolulu, the island of Molokai is often visible as a small blue mass, though dim and distant enough to waver like a mirage. Approached from the north, Molokai is a fortress: a vast wall of seacliffs rises above the surf, towering thousands of feet high and stretching for miles from end to end. Near the midpoint of that wall there juts from the base, suddenly and improbably, a low, level shelf of land that the early Hawaiians called Kalaupapa (“flat leaf”). That peninsula has a peculiar history. When, in the mid 19th century, leprosy grew rampant in the Hawaiian islands and panicked public health officials sought a suitable place to isolate the ill, they turned to the small tongue of land protruding from the north face of Molokai. Bound by the sea on all sides and walled off from the rest of the island by the tall cliffs to the rear, Kalaupapa was a natural prison. Continue here....

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tough wood reflective of Damien’s ‘strong’ nature

Maui News January 29, 2013: The koa wood Dale Zarrella used to carve his image of St. Damien was one of the toughest he's worked with.  The Kihei sculptor, who has shaped many types of wood into artwork over the years, said that this piece was "stubborn and strong as Damien" but in a good sense. "He was always kind to people,"  Zarrella said of St. Damien, who was canonized for his tireless work with leprosy patients on Molokai. "

(But) when in the bureaucracy of the government and the church he was strong and stubborn and outspoken. I like that about him. He fought for what was right."  The blessing drew about 160 people to Zarrella’s studio on the north end of Charley Young Beach in Kihei.  Zarrella recently completed his koa statue of St. Damien, which was blessed Sunday evening before at least 160 people at Zarrella's studio on the north end of Charley Young Beach in Kihei.   Zarrella said a patient in Kalaupapa sent over rosary beads that were placed on the statue's hand and a Bible for the blessing.  A family member of a patient brought sea salt from Kalaupapa to be used in the blessing. 

The statue of St. Damien, who was about 5 feet 9 inches tall, is life-sized but the artwork is 7 feet tall from its base.  The commissioned statue will be taken to Oahu to be displayed at the Damien and Marianne of Molokai Heritage Center in Waikiki.  A showing is planned at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Kihei, but the date and time have not been set yet.

The 51-year-old artist will soon begin his work on a monkeypod wood sculpture of St. Marianne, which also will be displayed at the museum. Mother Marianne Cope became a saint in October and spent many years on Molokai after St. Damien's death assisting leprosy patients as well as improving health care in Hawaii.  Zarrella chose monkeypod wood for Marianne because he said it's a softer wood that also matches St. Marianne's physical qualities.  She was petite, while Damien was stocky.  While having his statue displayed in an Oahu museum is an honor in itself, Zarrella had his study sculptures for his life-sized koa St. Damien taken to Rome last spring at the request of church officials on Oahu.

A 3-foot-tall bronze statue of a young Damien currently is in the Vatican collection and a second is at the Pontifical North American College, a seminary school that is part of Vatican City, Zarrella said.  Before the blessing and even before he saw the newest koa St. Damien statue, the Rev. Monsignor Terrence Watanabe of St. Theresa Catholic Church said that he felt "wonderful" about the work.   "I think it's great we have wonderful artists on Maui that have been inspired by Father Damien and Saint Marianne."  Watanabe performed Sunday's blessing with others, including Kahu Les Kuloloio.

Zarrella began his work on the St. Damien statue in October 2011, after venturing into the forests in Kipahulu under the guidance of kupuna who helped him choose the koa. He said he was told that the strongest canoes had come out of the forest they went into and that koa means "strength of the warrior" or "warrior spirit," which was "so appropriate for Damien."  Zarrella said that the strong koa was not a big obstacle for him, but the wood just took longer to carve.  He added that when he was working on St. Damien's face he noticed a tear mark just below the saint's right eye.  That made Zarrella wonder: "What did he do with the sorrow" of seeing all of the suffering patients in Kalaupapa?  Zarrella said that in letters St. Damien mentioned that he never wanted to show his sorrow on his face because people there had enough sorrow to deal with.

 St. Damien began his work in Kalaupapa in 1873. The Belgian priest worked with the patients there until he died in 1889 of the disease.  Leprosy, or Hansen's disease, is a chronic bacterial infection of the skin and superficial nerves.  Today, it can be treated by antibiotics. For his work in Kalaupapa, Damien de Veuster was canonized in 2009.   Zarrella said that his sculpture depicts St. Damien on his second day at Kalawao on the Kalaupapa peninsula just after he surveyed the pain and suffering of the patients.  St. Damien is standing on the cliffs and next to him is a child under a blanket.  Zarrella said that the child has no face but depicts all those children whom St. Damien would take under his wing.  "What the piece represents to me is the ultimate father figure. He was such an example of ultimate compassion and love and self-sacrifice. He did not only sacrifice his life for people, he did it with joy."

Zarrella made two trips to Kalaupapa to study the area where St. Damien lived and worked and read up on the saint. Zarrella, who is Catholic, created his first religious artwork when he was 18. It was an 8 foot crucifix that was placed above his church's altar in his home state of Connecticut. "It's always an incredible journey being a creative person," Zarrella said of his works. The St. Damien sculpture changed his life. "I look at the world with more compassion," he said. "I look at the work as a service; it's not a hardship. I definitely feel I'm a different person from what I started with. I learned an awful lot."
By MELISSA TANJI - Staff Writer (mtanji@mauinews.com) , The Maui News +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kalaupapa hula for Saint Marianne Cope

http://youtu.be/4btsftdApJ4
At the Kalaupapa celebration of the sainthood Marianne Cope, hula dancers perform during the Catholic mass held at Bishop Homes on Jan. 12, 2013. The Iolani Hawaii Suzuki Strings Tour Group is in the background. Music from the St. John Vianney Choir can be heard. This is the second Hawaii saint from the Hansen’s disease settlement of Kalaupapa after Saint Damien of Molokai was canonized in 2009.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Saint Damien of Molokai



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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kalaupapa, Molokai: Place of exile becomes symbol of strength

Although the cemetery next to St. Philomena church holds a number of tombstones, fewer than 1,000 of the 8,000 patients who died at Kalaupapa have marked graves. A memorial that will include as many of the previous residents' names as possible is still in the planning stages, after a Senate bill to create one was approved by President Obama in 2009.
Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To SFGate  For more photos click here.
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Monday, January 28, 2013

World Leprosy Day ~ 27th January 2013

(World Leprosy Day; Credit: © American Leprosy Missions) 
Leprosy, or more properly Hansen's disease, is one of the oldest recorded diseases in the world and has affected humanity for more than 4,000 years. It is an infectious chronic disease that targets the nervous system, especially the nerves of the cooler parts of the body such as the hands, feet and face.
Skin lesions are the primary external sign and if it is left untreated the disease can be progressive and cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.
The old stories of body parts falling off as a result of the disease are something of a myth, because what actually happens is that secondary infections can cause tissue loss and result in fingers and toes becoming shortened and deformed as cartilage is absorbed into the body.
Although it is now known to be a bacterial disease, it was traditionally thought to be highly contagious or even hereditary and from earliest times people suffering from the disease were required to wear special clothing and carry a bell or a wooden clapper to warn other people as they approached.
Sufferers were prohibited from visiting public places and forced to live in segregated colonies. Bible stories tell of lepers begging outside the gates of towns.
There was scant support for those suffering from the disease, with no clear idea of its causes and no known effective treatment. At various times blood was used, either as a beverage or as a bath. This included the blood of children, dogs, lambs or even blood from dead bodies. Cobra venom, bee stings and the excreta of climbing fish were also tried along with the administration of arsenic and mercury, but all to no avail. Isolation seemed to be the only answer.
Early examples of support came from Christian missionaries. A prominent example was Father Damien of Molokai. Now venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church, Damien was a Belgian-born priest who at the age of 33 went to work with a colony of 800 lepers on the island of Molokai, in what was then the Kingdom of Hawaii.
During his 16 years in Molokai, where he worked as pastor, medic, advisor and guardian, he was tireless in his efforts to make improvements to the colony and to bring greater respect for the dignity of those who were suffering from the disease.
11 years after his arrival, he scalded his foot and when he felt no pain Damien realised that he had succumbed to the disease himself, but he continued to work in the colony until a month before his death in 1889 at the age of 49. The work of Father Damien and his achievements became a worldwide inspiration for those who were fighting for plight of those suffering from the disease, but there was still no known cure.
In fact in 1873 the Norwegian physician Gerhard Hansen had discovered the causes of the disease and from then on leprosy became known as Hansen's disease. Gradually more information was gathered, which led to greater understanding of the disease and beginnings of the development of treatment. For instance, it is now known that 95% of the population have a natural immunity to leprosy.
By the mid-1930s new treatments were showing signs of success and by the early 1940s the development of the drug, Dapsone, was an important milestone, but the stigma of the disease still remained.
A great international figure in the fight to raise leprosy awareness was the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. Traditionally leprosy had been a major problem in India, with sufferers being treated as complete outcasts. Before his assassination on 30thJanuary 1948, Gandhi always went out of his way to befriend these people, not just in India, but in other countries also.
It was the French writer Raoul Follereau who came up with the suggestion of a World Leprosy Day. For many years he was a passionate worker on behalf of people suffering from the disease and during his 32 world tours he claimed to have visited every leprosarium in the world.
In September 1952, in a petition to the United Nations, Raoul Follereau requested that all member states should insist that persons affected by leprosy should be entitled to their rights on an equal basis with all other citizens and should enjoy the same protection from the law.
It was decided in 1952 that a World Leprosy Day should be observed each year to coincide with the Sunday closest to the date of Gandhi's assassination and the 60thdate of this observance will be 27th January 2013.
Things have come a long way in the last 60 years. In 1985, 122 countries throughout the world viewed leprosy as being a major public health issue, but the introduction of Multi Drug Therapy in the form of a blister pack has since revolutionised leprosy treatment. Much of the support for this has come from The World Health Organisation (WHO).
In 2011 official reports received from 130 countries indicated that there were now 192,264 cases of leprosy in the world and although new cases continue to be detected each year, this annual number continues to fall. In most countries where the disease was previously highly endemic, great strides have been made towards its elimination.
A crucial factor is to encourage patients and their families to come forward and receive early treatment, since this is the most effective way to prevent disabilities. Historically these groups have been ostracised from their communities and information campaigns are important both to improve understanding of the disease among the larger community and to prevent further transmission.
The ultimate aim is naturally to achieve worldwide elimination of the disease and this is universally considered to be achievable. In 2013 the 60th World Leprosy Day will give particular emphasis to those under-served and marginalized communities that are most at risk from leprosy - those who are often the poorest of the poor.
By Michael Evans
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Church supports World Leprosy Day - Jan 27th

VATICAN City, Catholic News service, Jan 15th: :  While the global rate of new infections of Hansen's disease, or leprosy, continues to decline, the stigma associated with the disease has not, and that often is the focus of annual church statements marking World Leprosy Day.
For the past 60 years, Christians around the world have marked the last Sunday of January as a day to pray for those with Hansen's disease, to raise awareness about it and to thank ministers and health care workers -- many of them Catholic -- who offer treatment, therapy and support to patients.
Pope Benedict XVI and the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry traditionally both issue messages for World Leprosy Day, which is Jan. 27 this year.
According to the World Health Organization, which provides free medication for Hansen's disease patients around the world, since 1985 there has been "dramatic decrease in the global disease burden." WHO reported the number of Hansen's cases went "from 5.2 million in 1985 to 805,000 in 1995 to 753,000 at the end of 1999 to 181,941 cases at the end of 2011."
While great strides have been made in eradicating the disease, WHO said, "pockets of high endemicity" remain in some areas of Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Congo, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal and Tanzania.
World Leprosy Day was begun by Raoul Follereau, a French writer and poet, who first encountered people with Hansen's disease in North Africa in the late 1930s and began speaking tours and raising money for treatment facilities. In 1964, he met Pope Paul VI at the Vatican and asked the pope to beatify Fr. Damien de Veuster of Molokai, Hawaii.
In 1873, de Veuster was assigned to work at what was then called a leper colony on Molokai. He soon gained a reputation as a pastor, medic, adviser and guardian to the 800 members of the colony. He campaigned vigorously for improvements in the colony and for greater respect for the dignity of people with the disease, who were treated as social outcasts at the time.
De Veuster contracted the disease in 1884 but continued working in the colony until a month before his death in 1889, at age 49.
De Veuster was beatified in 1995 by Blessed John Paul II and canonized by Pope Benedict in 2009.
In October, Pope Benedict canonized St. Damien's successor, Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai, a Sister of St. Francis who traveled from Syracuse, N.Y., to Hawaii to take over the ministry.
Holy Father marks World Leposy Day
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Visiting Molokai’s Kalaupapa Takes on Added Meaning


(Image courtesy of Austin McGee)It’s not easy an easy place to get to, but the former leper colony at the village of Kalaupapa is getting more ink in national travel press after Sister Marianne Cope became a saint. 

The Los Angeles Times writes:
There’s an added incentive to visit theKalaupapa National Historical Parkon Molokai. Sister Marianne Cope, a nun who made caring for Hawaii’s lepers her mission, was elevated to sainthood in October.

Visitors to Kalaupapa – once a “forbidden” village because of its leprosy-afflicted residents – tour St. Philomena’s Church, at which Father Damien, the widely known Belgian priest, preached to his banished flock. They also visit his grave as well as the former gravesite of Mother Marianne. (Her remains were relocated to her home parish in Syracuse after her beatification seven years ago.) The facilities the priest and nun oversaw – Father Damien died of Hansen’s disease in 1889 – remained in use until 1969.

If you’re planning to visit Kalaupapa, know that state law requires all visitors to secure a permit from the Hawaii Department of Health before visiting. Regardless of how you plan to access the town beneath towering cliffs, you’ll need to work with Gloria Marks at Father Damien Tours, the only person authorized by Health Department officials to issue permits. Visitors must be at least 16 years of age.

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Resolution introduced honoring Saint Marianne Cope


By David Lassman, The Post-Standard 
U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-Onondaga Hill, U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, and two representatives from Hawaii introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives honoring Saint Marianne Cope, who was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in October.

“(St. Marianne) was an ordinary woman who is now a saint and this resolution is an appropriate way for Congress to honor her many achievements which began with good works in the Mohawk Valley,” Hanna said in a statement.

St. Marianne was raised in Utica and at 24, became a nun. She was the founder of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Utica (now St. Elizabeth Medical Center) and St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse before leaving New York for Hawaii, where she provided care for patients with leprosy.

At the canonization ceremony in October, Pope Benedict XVI said Cope "showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm."

"She is a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved Saint Francis," he said.

In 1918, St. Marianne died in Hawaii. She was 80 years old.
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A Saint for Central New York



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Homily for Saint Marianne Cope Post-Canonization Celebration, Kalaupapa

January 14, 2013
She was a rising star. This young woman who had matured so well because she cared for her family as a young bread winner was excitedly welcomed by the Sisters of St. Francis. This young Sister shone so brightly that she was quickly tapped to be a mentor to the novices. Within just a few years this rising star was placed in charge of schools, and she shone in her founding of two New York hospitals. Her brilliance was the cutting edge of health care in her time. Her light caught the eye of her Franciscan Sisters, and they elected her their Superior.
The light of stars does not shine on just some small part of the earth, and so when a letter came from a far away island kingdom asking for Sisters to serve the sick, others could only see their own stretched resources in the midst of so many needs in their little corners of the world. But this rising star named Mother Marianne knew instinctively that the best stars lead to journeys of adventure and great discovery. And so this rising star from the East travelled with six Sisters to these tiny dots of land in the vast Pacific Ocean, to Hawaii Nei.
Even here this rising star quickly changed the darkness, neglect, and filth of a warehouse for the rejected into a place of light, dignity, and joy. The eyes of a king and queen sparkled with the light of Mother Marianne, and they noted her brilliance with a star of honor, the Royal Medal of Kapiolani.
Yet this rising star that was Mother Marianne Cope was very well aware of St. John’s admonition to beware of idols.  She knew that her light was a created light whose only purpose was to lead others to the true and uncreated light. She knew that her light was a mere guiding star to the merciful healing brilliance of Christ, and that day by day he would grow greater as she became smaller, ever narrowing her world. Her move from the great expansive State of New York to the little obscure islands of Hawaii, from the capitol city of Honolulu to the dead-end nowhere of Kalaupapa, was symbolic of her light becoming smaller so that Christ could become greater. She was hungry for this work that few others would even consider doing, because she daily had her own hunger satisfied by the living Bread come down from heaven.
Mother Marianne was not just a star that flashed in the heavens long ago, but she has now been fixed as a heavenly light for all time, so that she can continue to shine on Christ wherever he may be found. From her place in heaven she leads us on an exciting pilgrimage to the most unlikely places to encounter Jesus. She knew the story of his being found in a stinking stable, and therefore did not find it odd to find Jesus in a place reeking with the decay of diseased bodies.  She believed the story of his being cruelly confined to a rough-hewn cross, with many wishing that he would just disappear, and therefore found Jesus in those who had been cruelly confined, with the hope that they would soon disappear, on this rough cross of Kalaupapa.  She took part every day in the memorial of Christ’s rising from the dead, and therefore she was able to bring so much life and joy to this place of the living dead.  She, who directed others as their Superior, knew that her greatest joy was in submitting herself to Christ.  Saint Marianne’s light shines on Christ, the all powerful God who has made himself so little for us.  Her brilliant light leads to Him who is the Light of the World, and so this rising star is happily dimmed in the presence of the source of all light.
In these days when we quarantine God so that we will not be contaminated by the contagion of his commandments, we so much need a light that will guide us to break open the frontiers of fear.  At this time when little people are disposable because they are hidden away in the darkness of a womb, we need a star to show us that no matter how difficult life may become in caring for them, no one is disposable.  In these days when we make ourselves ever greater and dim the light of truth, we need a strong star that knows how to be absorbed into the Great Light, to become dimmer in oneself, so that the Light of the World can become even brighter.  We thank God for sending this star to us, for setting her forever in the firmament of heaven, and for making her our living lesson that making ourselves smaller and more obscure brightens the world all the more with the light of Jesus Christ our Lord.  We thank God for Saint Marianne Cope! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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Kalaupapa Tribute to the “Rising Star” – St. Marianne Cope



Friday, January 18th’s Hawaii Catholic Herald features the celebration of St. Marianne back at her Kalaupapa home.
In this video clip, in his homily  Bishop Larry Silva, shares a powerful reflection on the living lesson of Saint Marianne Cope as a rising star for our example today.
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Kalaupapa Tribute to the “Rising Star” – St. Marianne Cope




Friday, January 18th’s Hawaii Catholic Herald features the celebration of St. Marianne back at her Kalaupapa home.
In this video clip, the patients and government workers of the hula halau Na Wahine o Kalawao gracefully, beautifully and prayerfully pay tribute to St. Marianne with their dance to the hymn to “Saint Marianne” composed by Patrick Downes.
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Friday, November 30, 2012

In Hawaii, a meaningful reunion for Fairhaven parishioners

St. Mary's parishioners on a visit to Hawaii pose with
Father Patrick Killilea, second from far left.
Photo courtesy of Lillian Desrosiers

November 24, 2012  FAIRHAVEN — On Thanksgiving, 15 members of St. Mary's Parish were thankful for a pilgrimage of their own. Newly returned from their mid-October missionary trip to the Hawaiian island of Molokai, the Fairhaven residents say they are grateful for the opportunity they had to walk in the footsteps of their Patron St. Damien and for the reunion they had there with beloved pastor Father Patrick Killilea.
Affectionately referred to by parishioners as "Father Pat," Killilea served at St. Mary's in Fairhaven for 13 years before he moved to the St. Francis Parish in Molokai in June. He requested the move to Molokai in part because of its connection to St. Damien, who built the St. Francis Parish and lived there from 1873 until his death. Damien, also a father of the Sacred Heart Congregation, spent his days at Kalaupapa, an isolated peninsula of the island, caring for residents of a leper colony.
In previous eras, those with leprosy, also called Hansen's Disease, were sent to secluded colonies in order to avoid infecting others. Damien worked with those who were infected and ultimately succumbed to the disfiguring disease himself.
Trip organizer Charlie Murphy said he had planned to lead a mission to Molokai to teach congregants about Damien's life and work even before Killilea announced his move. The trip was postponed from August to October in order to give Killilea more time to settle in before receiving visitors.
The reunion was a happy one, Murphy said. "He greeted us wearing a Hawaiian shirt; he fits right in." Murphy said. In Kalaupapa, Killilea led Mass for the pilgrims. "That was my favorite part of the whole trip," Murphy said. "There was such a sense of peace about some people in my life who have recently passed away. "I could feel their presence and just a calming effect that they are in a good spot," he said. Lillian Desrosiers also said she was moved by the Mass, which was "a touching moment to stand there and to worship in the church that so many thousands of people with Hansen's Disease once stood and prayed in and hoped for a cure. "I will never forget that experience," she said.
In addition to visiting Killilea in Kalaupapa, the parishioners also went to other famous sites in Hawaii, including Pearl Harbor. "The contrast between being at this colony with people dying this slow death and then going to Pearl Harbor when you have this huge amount of people who died in seconds was very moving," Desrosiers said. "It changes you." Murphy said he was struck by the generosity of the people the Fairhaven residents encountered. In Molokai, he said, the church threw a potluck dinner for the visitors and presented them with leis made from shells. Desrosiers, who volunteers as a eucharistic minister at a nursing home, said she returned to Fairhaven newly inspired to help others. "It makes you realize that we are all a little bit selfish with our time," she said. "But Damien stopped at nothing to help others and gave his life for it. It just shows you that God wouldn't give you more challenges than He knew I could overcome."
By ARIEL WITTENBERG awittenberg@s-t.com
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Relic of St. Marianne Cope visits island

Joseph Durocher, a student at St. Catherine's School,
holds the Relic of Saint Marianne Cope, flanked by Michela Costa
and Sister Grace Michael Souza, Monday during
the veneration mass at the St. Rafael Church in Koloa.
(Photo: Denis Fujimoto)
KOLOA — Kaua‘i people had two opportunities to visit a relic of St. Marianne Cope Monday. “It’s a beautiful day on Kaua‘i,” said Sister Florence Remata of Immaculate Conception Church who just returned from Rome, where she attended the recent canonization of St. Marianne Cope. “We will host two visitations, one at St. Raphael Church where a Veneration Mass will be held, and the other, a play, at Immaculate Conception Church in Kapai‘a, Monday night. There will be no Mass at the ICC event.” Remata said the visitation of the relic to Kaua‘i was done through the Sisters of St. Francis of Neumann Communities, Order of St. Marianne Cope.
Escorting the relic during its visit to Koloa were Remata, Sister Candida Oroc of Waimea and Sister Grace Michael Souza of Kalaheo. Nearly 200 students from St. Theresa School in Kekaha and St. Catherine School in Kapa‘a formed the major core of the audience at St. Raphael’s, the parishioners of other island Catholic parishes overflowing the remainder of space in the Koloa hall. Joseph Durocher of St. Catherine School was silent as he nervously accepted the gold case encasing the relic from Souza just ahead of the Veneration Mass. “Is that the relic?” a parishioner whispered as the processional formed at the church’s entrance. “I thought it would be in a big box.” Representatives from all the Catholic churches on Kaua‘i participated in the Mass. The students from both Catholic schools offered canned and non-perishable food during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
“This is only the second time the two Catholic schools have gotten together,” said Celina Haigh, principal of St. Catherine School. “The first time was at Kamalani Playground where we got together to celebrate Catholic School Week. This time, it goes beyond the school.” Mary Jean Buza-Sims, principal at St. Theresa School, was also thrilled with the students having the opportunity to visit the relic and be an integral part of the Veneration Mass.  “We’re down to just 99 students,” Buza-Sims said, noting the school was featured in a Honolulu newspaper because of its rapidly declining enrollment. “Once we had 167 students, but that was before the economic crunch hit. We’ve been losing students because parents aren’t able to pay for their children’s school.”  Buza-Sims said the school will be working on a Thanksgiving project to feed homeless and needy people on Nov. 19, starting at 11 a.m.
 Mother Marianne Cope, serving as superior general of the congregation in 1883, responded to the plea sent to 50 religious congregations from the bishop of the Sandwich Islands at the request of the king and queen, for “sisters of charity” to care for the “poor, afflicted people” of the islands, states a solicitation flier on St. Marianne Cope.  Mother Marianne and six sisters traveled to Honolulu where they served at the hospital in Kaka‘ako which provided care to people believed to have Hansen’s disease, or leprosy.  In 1884, Mother Marianne traveled to Maui, founding Malulani Hospital, the island’s first hospital, as well as St. Anthony School.  In 1888, Mother Marianne and the sisters moved to Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i, to care for those with Hansen’s disease who had been exiled to the island’s peninsula.
 Mother Marianne brought professional hospital care and infection control procedures to the settlement, and additionally, “a woman’s touch,” working to improve patients’ quality of life by treating them with dignity and respect and by creating a meaningful and supportive community environment. She passed away on Aug. 9, 1918, after caring for Hansen’s disease patients for 35 years. Following a 37-year pursuit of making Mother Marianne a saint, she was canonized on Oct. 21, making her the first Franciscan woman from North America to be named a saint.
Visit www.saintmariannecope.org for more biographical information on Saint Marianne Cope and original article and more photos at "http://www.bit.ly/Ufpt44/"
 • Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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Saint ‘Said Yes’ When Hawaii’s Sick Needed Her

St. Marianne Cope of Molokai is pictured
in an undated file photo. (CNS photo)
ATLANTA: As daybreak unfolded, Meg Burnett arrived by 6 a.m. at the entrance to St. Peter’s Square in Rome with prayerful excitement for the canonization for her great-great-aunt, Marianne Cope. As she inhaled the atmosphere of anticipation on the fresh, sunny morn, she quietly rejoiced at the elevation to sainthood of her beloved relative in heaven for her care for those with leprosy in Hawaii for 30 years until her death in 1918.

Having worked for over a decade for her cause, Burnett marveled at the banner above St. Peter’s Basilica Oct. 21, officially declaring her Saint Marianne to some 80,000 gathered. “That banner meant it was finally happening. It was just an exciting experience to be there and witness it. I kept thinking, what she was thinking. She was a very private person and didn’t like publicity. She did her work very quietly and all she wanted was a private corner in heaven to praise her God,” said Burnett, back home on All Saints Day following the trip to Rome.

A Marietta resident and member of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta, Burnett joined 220 others on a pilgrimage led by Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu, Hawaii. At the culminating liturgy, St. Marianne, along with Native American St. Kateri Tekakwitha and five others, were canonized as their relics were brought forth in procession and Pope Benedict raised them up as examples through their total dedication to Christ and service to others. The pope praised St. Marianne, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Syracuse, N.Y., for having shown the “highest level of love, courage and enthusiasm for her work” in the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and the selfless spirit of St. Francis when little could be done for those with Hansen’s disease, known at the time as leprosy. Pilgrims also took part in a reception in the Vatican Museum gardens with U.S. Ambassador Miguel Diaz, who reflected on the American women saints’ service to native populations. The pilgrims celebrated Mass at a different basilica each day that concluded with an interpretive hula dance about St. Marianne.

A spiritual highlight for Burnett was the visit to the Basilica of St. John Lateran where she beheld towering statues of the 12 apostles. The group also attended Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. The daughter of German immigrants, St. Marianne, a naturalized American as a child, entered the Franciscan sisters when she was 24 with the idea of teaching. But she became a leader in the medical field, helping to establish the first Catholic hospital in Syracuse, known as St. Joseph Hospital. She spent the last 30 years of her life on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, living and working among those with leprosy on the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula, taking over a community run by St. Damien de Veuster after his death. She also opened one of Hawaii’s first hospitals on Maui in 1884, today known as Maui Memorial Hospital. She died in Hawaii in 1918 at 80.

For the process of beatification and canonization, two miracles were medically documented and credited to the intervention of St. Marianne. The first was the recovery of a young New York girl dying from multiple organ failure and the second was a 65-year-old New York woman healed of pancreatitis. St. Marianne has always been the patron saint of Burnett’s family and she grew up in awe of her legacy and “overwhelming love of God.” Burnett has always been inspired by her great-great-aunt’s bravery. “It was her willingness to go out to Hawaii to the unknown because she didn’t know what she was getting into. It was a time when Hawaii needed help and she responded.

There were 50 other religious orders asked to help the sick of Hawaii, and she was the only one who responded,” Burnett reflected. “She had no qualms about it, no fear of the disease, and she just said yes and did it cheerfully. I wonder at age 45 would I have been able to do the same and at age 50 to exile myself to Kalaupapa?” Instilling good hygiene practices, St. Marianne was confident that none of the Franciscan sisters who came would contract the infectious disease, for which there was no effective treatment until the late 1930s. “She had predicted that none of the sisters who cared for the lepers would contract the disease, and 128 years later none of them have,” noted Burnett.

Burnett learned a lot about St. Marianne from the efforts of Franciscan Sister Mary Laurence, who researched the saint’s life for 37 years and died days before the announcement she would be canonized. Burnett’s connection to St. Marianne has also led her to Lourdes, France, and to Hawaii seven times where she’s walked the peaceful tropical grounds and reflected on the past horrors there, a place where lepers once were dropped off at sea because of the great fear of the disease. In Kalaupapa, Burnett once heard St. Marianne ask her, “Why are you sitting there? Don’t you know there is work to be done?” From that she discerned a new life direction of service upon retirement from the Coca-Cola Co.

Sharon Smith, left, presents a relic of St. Marianne Cope
as Dr. Richard Hehir and Sister Michaeleen Cabral,
a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities,
carry candles during the canonization of seven new saints
by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 21.
Among those canonized were two North Americans
 — St. Kateri Tekakwitha, an American Indian born
in upstate New York who died in Canada in 1680,
and St. Marianne, who worked with leprosy patients
on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
She now raises funds for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home for terminal cancer patients and helps the homeless through the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta. “I feel her presence daily, and I firmly believe she’s watching over me,” Burnett said. She’ll return to Hawaii in January 2013 when Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will visit Kalaupapa for the first time. Back home, Burnett hopes to give more presentations on St. Marianne Cope’s legacy in the Archdiocese of Atlanta to make her better known beyond Hawaii and New York. “I’m still in awe that it happened. I knew it was going to happen in my lifetime and to say it already has happened is just a phenomenal experience for me,” she said. “When you look back on her life and what she accomplished it’s just unbelievable … considering we’re talking 1883 and a woman’s place in the world was not what it is today.” “Her work is still going on in Hawaii and also in Syracuse, N.Y. The St. Francis Health Care System is very, very alive on the island,” Burnett said.
By PRISCILLA GREEAR, Special To The Bulletin +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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Sr. Mary Irene on Background of St. Marianne Cope's Statue at St. Joseph...



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Monday, November 26, 2012

Mother Marianne Cope, editing and producing "A Saint for CNY"



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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Are So Many People Still Suffering From Leprosy?


Share1 Oct 31 2012, 11:46 AM ET 9 Mystery and misconceptions continue to surround the biblical scourge contracted by at least 250,000 people each year.
leprosy615.jpg
A leprosy affected woman prays at a Buddhist pagoda in an isolated village south of Hanoi, 2010 (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

There was a time and a place when, if one wanted to be canonized, going to a leper colony was a surefire way of earning the requisite "angel of mercy" cred. Just last week, "Mother of Outcasts" Marianne Cope was posthumously recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church for her work with people afflicted by leprosy in late 1800s Hawaii. She was the second person working with that same population to receive this rare honor.
Caring for the afflicted made for compelling narrative as well, as nurse and missionary Kate Marsden learned with the 1892 publication of On Sledge and Horseback to the Outcast Siberian Lepers. While the action-packed details of her journey across the taiga occupies the majority of the tome's 300 pages, little compares to the "peculiar thrill" she describes at her first glimpse of the lepers -- as it was then still acceptable to call those suffering from what we now also refer to as Hansen's disease -- who had been banished to small settlements hidden in the depths of the forest:
Some of the people came limping, and some leaning on sticks, to catch the first glimpse of us, their faces and limbs distorted by the dreadful ravages of the disease. One poor creature could only crawl by the help of a stool, and all had the same indescribably hopeless expression of the eyes which indicates the disease. I scrambled off the horse, and went quickly among the little crowd of the lame, the halt, and the blind. Some were standing, some were kneeling, and some crouching on the ground, and all with eager faces turned toward me. They told me afterward that they believed God had sent me...
The lepers, to Marsden's horror, had been entirely forsaken by their communities. They spent much of their time in their book prostrating themselves before her and admiring her refusal to fear them. But if she allowed herself a bit of a heroine complex, Marsden's main objective was to call attention to the lepers' plight. She certainly didn't sugarcoat the dire realities of their exile. "I began to wonder," she writes several chapters later, "why some of these lepers did not, in their desperation, throw themselves in the way of the bears, and so end their miseries."
lepers-inset.jpgThe exiled lepers encountered by Marsden (Google Books)

Descriptions like these seem quaint artifacts of less enlightened times. Surely, there's far less opportunity to be beatified for such self-sacrifice in our era of modern medicine. Multidrug therapy -- while not a full-fledged cure for leprosy -- has caused the number of cases worldwide to drop from 5.4 million to somewhere in the realm of 250,000 since 1985, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The last two leper colonies in the U.S. -- the one attended by Cope, and another near Baton Rouge -- closed their gates to new residents toward the end of the twentieth century. While infections still occur in this country at a rate of about 200 cases per year, you're most likely to contract the disease through foreign travel or contact with an armadillo.
We also know a lot more about leprosy than we did a century ago, when our knowledge hadn't evolved much from that of biblical times. For example, so far as plagues go, it's actually not very contagious: about 95 percent of people may be naturally immune to the Mycobacterium leprae bacilli that cause the disease. While biblical references to leprosy encompass all sorts of plights to the skin -- both literal and metaphorical -- the disease as modernly defined most potently causes nerve damage.
Still, much about leprosy continues to elude scientific understanding, including the exact means by which it is transmitted. M. leprae can't be cultured in the lab, as it replicates at a snail's pace, taking 12.5 days where most bacteria require mere hours. Partly due to these challenges, the disease remains endemic in other parts of the world, predominately India, Brazil, and Indonesia. The worst cases can result in not just disfigurement, but blindness. Outside of the U.S., it's the leading cause of people losing the use of their hands.
And its biblical and historic associations with sin and shunning die hard (quoth the King James Bible, "And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean"). Limited awareness of this sort can prevent full-fledged efforts to eradicate the disease from taking hold. "I can take you to places where people live in an isolated leprosy hospital," said Steve Reed, the founder and CEO of the Infectious Disease Research Institute, a nonprofit working, in part, to eliminate leprosy for good. He spoke of people who had been sent to such wholly unnecessary places as children, and of some who had even been born there. He was speaking of the present day.
leprosyinset2.jpgMargaret Tonga sits between her leprosy-afflicted parents in Mogiri, south Sudan, 2007. Following years of war, they have not been able to receive proper treatment or medicine. (Stringer/Reuters)

Central to the eradication of leprosy may lie not so much in drugs as a switch in the way we think about it. The social stigma it continues to carry keeps it from being perceived, as Reed puts it, as "a disease like any other." WHO considers itself to be in the "final push" of its elimination strategy, and most countries reported meeting its goal of reducing incidences to less than one per 10,000 individuals by the year 2000.
But "the drop-off in the number of new cases just didn't jibe," said Dr. Malcolm Duthie, who heads up IDRI's leprosy work. He cites political motivation in places like India -- where the numbers of reported infections dropped steeply in a short period of time -- to claim the disease is under control. At least one study backs up his claim: In Bangladesh, an active search for leprosy cases turned up five times the number of reported incidences -- in this way, too, people with leprosy have been cast aside. "The easiest way to eliminate a disease is to stop looking for it," said Duthie.
The most recent recommendations released by the WHO are for early diagnosis and early treatment, which can be extremely effective in preventing leprosy's most damaging effects. But drug treatments have a limited scope of efficacy. The disease is extremely slow to manifest -- seven years can pass between infection and the appearance of symptoms -- and it's easy for physicians to misdiagnose. Patients will often be treated, ineffectively, for fungal infections or other skin conditions before finally consulting experts, who are difficult to reach in many parts of the world.
Meanwhile, multidrug therapy requires six months to a year of treatment. During that time, many things can go wrong. While noncompliance isn't a major problem, said Duthie, barriers such as natural disasters may arise that prevent continuous access to the drugs. "It's very difficult to eliminate a disease completely when all you're doing is reacting to cases," said Reed.
He added, "No disease has ever been eliminated without a vaccine." Adding to WHO's efforts, IDRI is in the finalizing stages of two vaccines for those at risk of leprosy and those in the early stages of infection. The first arose from their development of a vaccine for tuberculosis, which, in terms of the bacteria by which it is spread, is a close cousin of leprosy. The second will target leprosy specifically, as is expected to go into phase I testing by late 2013.
IDRI has also developed a blood test -- "similar to a pregnancy test," said Duthie -- that will be ready by the end of the year. The test will be key to getting the vaccine to the right people, and to preventing the damages that, once caused, are permanently debilitating. They are also in the process of putting together an advisory council, and hope to get local governments, doctors, and scientists in affected areas to spearhead the renewed effort at elimination.
In their efforts, IDRI has teamed up with the American Leprosy Mission, a Christian organization that explicitly aims to follow Jesus's example in curing leprosy. In the short term, it's a fine thing to encourage the embrace, instead of exile, of those afflicted ("And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped [Jesus], saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean"). Scientific advancement, from there, may step in for missionaries and saints and finally take us the rest of the way, relegating leprosy itself to the realm of biblical allegory.
He added, "No disease has ever been eliminated without a vaccine." Adding to WHO's efforts, IDRI is in the finalizing stages of two vaccines for those at risk of leprosy and those in the early stages of infection. The first arose from their development of a vaccine for tuberculosis, which, in terms of the bacteria by which it is spread, is a close cousin of leprosy. The second will target leprosy specifically, as is expected to go into phase I testing by late 2013.
IDRI has also developed a blood test -- "similar to a pregnancy test," said Duthie -- that will be ready by the end of the year. The test will be key to getting the vaccine to the right people, and to preventing the damages that, once caused, are permanently debilitating. They are also in the process of putting together an advisory council, and hope to get local governments, doctors, and scientists in affected areas to spearhead the renewed effort at elimination.
By Lindsay Abrams
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This must be the first photograph of two saints together...


The canonization of Marianne Cope, along with Kateri Tekakwitha, on October 21, occasioned the publication of a stunning photograph showing Marianne standing beside the funeral bier of St. Damien in Kalaupapa, Molokai. That was in 1889, and the picture is so sharp that it could have been taken today. It must be the first photograph of two saints together. The holy friendships of Teresa of Avila with John of the Cross, and Francis de Sales with Jane de Chantal illuminated civilization before photography.
St. Damien’s body is scarred with leprosy but vested in the fine chasuble in which he used to offer Mass. St. Marianne, in her timeless religious habit, shows no sorrow for she obviously knows she is looking at a saint, not knowing that she is one herself.
Studying that photograph, one thinks of how hard they worked, not only among the outcast lepers, but all their lives. Damien, born Jozef de Veuster in Belgium, was a farm boy, and Marianne left school in Utica, New York, after the eighth grade to support her family by working in factories.
Not in the picture was their helper, Joseph Dutton, a Civil War veteran who was so traumatized by the ravages of war and his broken marriage that he became an alcoholic. He reformed his life, went to Molokai and worked with the lepers for 45 years — cleaning latrines, scrubbing floors, and binding sores — until his death in 1931. Their great happiness would have been clouded to see how much unhappiness there is in our land today.
As a typical eighteenth-century rationalist, Edward Gibbon was cynical about Christianity, but as an historian he analyzed the decline of once-great civilizations in terms of natural virtue: “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”
I expect that Gibbon would have understood modern saints no better than he did the early martyrs and confessors, but he would have seen in them a selfless energy that builds noble societies, and the neglect of such energy pulls them down. Our own nation is facing these realities as it decides what it wants to be. The present crisis in culture cannot be resolved if it is addressed only in terms of economics and international relations. The real leaders are not those who hypnotize naïve people into thinking that they are the source of hope. Those who can rescue nations from servility to selfishness are not on slick campaign posters, but in stark black and white photographs like that taken on Molokai in 1889.
By Father George Rutler  http://tinyurl.com/8w9kt74
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Monday, October 29, 2012


Tekakwitha and Mother Marianne Cope, two Upstate New York women who lived remarkable lives and will now share the title of saint.
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Mother Marianne Cope Becomes an American Saint

Oct. 21st.  (CNN) -- An American health care pioneer will receive the Roman Catholic Church's highest honor this weekend. On Sunday, Mother Marianne Cope -- along with another North American, Kateri Tekakwitha -- will become a saint, a designation so difficult to achieve that only 10 other Americans have been canonized before her.
Saint Marianne Cope, as she will soon be known, may be best remembered for her work with patients suffering from Hansen's disease -- or lepers, as they were called at the time.
In Hawaii in the late 1800s, people were so afraid of the disease that even those with simple, unrelated rashes were often banished to the remote island of Molokai. They remained at this leper colony for the rest of their lives, far away from family and friends. Their children became orphans.
An island priest who was worried about this health crisis wrote to nearly 50 different religious congregations asking for help. But the work was perceived as so dangerous that only Mother Marianne responded. Before she made her long journey to the remote islands, though, she radically changed medical practices on the mainland.

'A Wonderful Hospital Administrator'
Mother Marianne opened and operated some of the first general hospitals in the United States, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica, New York, in 1866 and St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York, in 1869. Both are still in operation today.  At that time, hospitals had a bad reputation. Doctors had limited medical knowledge and even less understanding of how diseases spread. Most patients who turned to hospitals for help never left them alive.

Mother Marianne started to change that, first by instituting cleanliness standards. The simple act of hand-washing between patient visits cut the spread of disease significantly. Word of her facility's success spread quickly, according to Sister Patricia Burkard.  "She was a wonderful hospital administrator and really started the patients' rights movement and truly changed how people cared for the sick," said Burkard, who until recently held the same office Mother Marianne did as head of her religious congregation, now known as the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities.  Leaders at the College of Medicine in Geneva, New York, heard about Mother Marianne's success and decided to relocate to her area.

It became Syracuse University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and its students went on to perfect their skills at Mother Marianne's hospitals. That meant her patients had access to some of the top medical minds in the country and some of the most cutting-edge treatments.  The addition of student doctors also gave Mother Marianne's patients an unheard of choice. They were asked if they wanted to be seen by a student or cared for by someone with more experience.  Mother Marianne made sure the medical facilities welcomed all people regardless of race, creed or economic standing. That was many decades before desegregated hospitals. She even weathered criticism for caring for alcoholics. She treated their problem -- which was seen by many experts as a moral failing unworthy of help -- like a disease.  "She was clearly far ahead of the times," Burkard said.

Travels to Hawaii
In 1883, Mother Marianne left those hospitals in good hands, Burkard said, and traveled with six sisters to Hawaii. When they arrived in Hawaii, church bells rang and a gathered crowd cheered to welcome them.  Within a year, she established the first general hospital on Maui. The facility was so successful that King Kalakaua honored her with the medal of the Royal Order of Kapiolani. She also opened the Kapiolani Home, which cared for the many female orphans of patients with Hansen's disease.
At the government's request, she took over another badly run medical facility in Honolulu. The hospital, which was supposed to house only 100 patients, housed 200. Its deplorable conditions were described in a diary kept by one of her fellow Franciscans and quoted in a book about Mother Marianne's life, "A Song of Pilgrimage and Exile."  "Fat bedbugs nested in the cracks (of walls). Brown stains upon walls, floors, and bedding showed where their blood-filled bodies had been crushed by desperate patients. Straw mattresses, each more or less covered by a dirty blanket, lay upon the unswept floor. ... Blankets, mattresses, clothing, and patients all supported an ineradicable population of lice," wrote Sister Leopoldina Burns.  "When she got to Honolulu, it was roll up the sleeves and clean the places up," Burkard said. "That was the story wherever they went. The sisters came in with their bucket brigade. They brought order, and I guess a lot of TLC to people no one else wanted to help."
Mother Marianne's efforts were so successful her patients were allowed to remain on the main islands, but in 1887 a new government took charge. Its officials decided to close the Oahu hospital and reinforce the old banishment policy. Mother Marianne decided to follow them to Molokai, even though it meant she'd never return.

On the Island of Molokai
On the island, Father Damien DeVeuster, whom the Catholic Church named a saint in 2009, had established a medical facility known as the Apostle of the Lepers. By the time Mother Marianne arrived, he was dying from Hansen's disease.  At his request, she told him she would care for his patients. Upon his death, she took over his facility that cared for men and boys and established a separate enterprise to treat girls and women.
Saint Damien of Molokai's patients had been living in rudimentary huts. They dressed in rags. Mother Marianne wanted to improve their lives.  She raised money and started programs that gave the ill population a much more dignified life. She set up classes for patients. She worked to beautify the environment with gardens and landscaping. Patients got proper clothes, music and religious counseling. She couldn't cure them, but she could make their lives better.
Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918, at the age of 80. Incredibly, to this day none of the Franciscan sisters have ever contracted Hansen's disease.  Almost immediately the sisters started organizing her case for sainthood. To become a saint, a person must meet a strict set of religious and otherworldly requirements. Once a person dies, this kind of local effort must be made on their behalf.
The sisters gathered all of Mother Marianne's written work and correspondence. They took testimony from people who knew her. This evidence of her holiness had to be presented to a local council, which made a recommendation that she was worthy of consideration to the Vatican. There, a team of nine theologians pored over the documents.
The theologians voted in her favor, and then the Pope John Paul II named her a "Servant of God, Venerable." This is the honorific after which most cases for sainthood stop.  To become a saint, it's not enough to do good deeds. People must pray to the person under consideration, and the Church must establish that in doing so those prayers resulted in not one, but two verifiable miracles.  "A miracle is some extraordinary fact, especially in the medical field -- a cure that nobody expected and suddenly, against all expectations, this person is cured," said Father Peter Gumpel, a priest who has scrutinized hundreds of sainthood cases in his nearly 50 years as a "devil's advocate," or someone at the Vatican who examines the case made on behalf of a potential saint.  "Miracles are still required because the Church has to be absolutely sure what we are doing in canonizing someone conforms to the will of God," he said. "To do this, we ask for a sign from God."
After a case is made that a miracle has occurred, a team of doctors must verify that there is no medical explanation for the cure. Then the case goes to a second group of doctors who consult for the Vatican, who go over those same records and must make the same determination. The process then starts over again once a second miracle occurs.  Many of these cases take hundreds of years. Mother Marianne's got through in record time.

Mother Marianne's Miracles
Mother Marianne's first official miracle came in 1992. That's when Syracuse resident Kate Mahoney recovered after her doctors had given up hope.  The then-14-year-old had a near-fatal reaction to the chemotherapy she received to treat ovarian cancer. In December of that year, she was admitted to the hospital suffering from severe abdominal pain.  Doctors performed surgery to remove an internal buildup of fluid. During the surgery, she suffered a serious hemorrhagic shock followed by cardiac arrest. Many of her vital organs shut down. Machines kept her alive when her heart, kidney and lungs stopped working.

According to the medical file submitted to the Vatican, three doctors determined Mahoney's body was in the process of overall deterioration. They thought she would die.  It was around then that friends reached out to Sister Mary Laurence Hanley. Hanley was the director of the Cause of Mother Marianne and the person who put her case for sainthood together.  The sister visited the sick girl. She prayed for Mother Marianne's help, enlisting others to do the same. She touched Mahoney with a relic from the soon-to-be-saint.  That week, Mahoney showed signs of improvement. By the next week, her medical records show doctors recording their "surprise" that her vital organs started to work again "for some unknown reason." Eventually local and Vatican doctors determined there was no medical explanation for her full recovery.

In 2005 Pope Benedict XVI agreed that Mahoney had experienced a miracle. Mother Marianne was beatified, one step away from sainthood.  It was in that same year that the second miracle happened.  Sharon Smith, then 58, was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse. She says she had been at home and fainted.  "I woke up two and a half months later in the hospital," Smith said.  Her doctors told her she had developed a severe inflammation that was killing her pancreas and was spreading to other vital organs. Several surgeries did little to help. Her doctor consulted several experts. None could remember anyone recovering from similar cases. The doctor told Smith there was little they could do for her.  "When I heard that, I started thinking about my time in the Navy," the Gulf War veteran said. "I thought, 'I have led an interesting life. I have great friends. I have some wonderful memories. Lord, if you have to take me, at least I have these.'"  Smith mentally prepared for death.  "But for some reason He was nice enough to leave me here," she said, laughing.  Smith says the doctors did what they could to keep her comfortable. They even tried surgery to repair a huge hole that had opened between her stomach and intestine, but it didn't work. That's when the Franciscan sisters stepped in.

"My friend was sitting in the waiting room with my longtime roommate Pat while I was in surgery," Smith said. "The doctor came in to tell them, 'She is not going to breathe on her own again.' My roommate came in and said goodbye, and then my other friend came in and told her that this lady in the waiting room gave her a prayer card with Mother Marianne on it and suggested they pray for her help.  "They did, and I woke up. I started breathing on my own," Smith said.

The nuns paid regular visits to Smith, who is not Catholic. They kept her company. They prayed with her. They brought her communion. Then Sister Michaeleen Cabral pinned a small plastic bag on Smith's hospital gown. Inside was dirt from around Mother Marianne's grave -- known in the church as a relic.  "When they pinned that relic on me, I started feeling a little better," Smith said. "A little while later, when I opened my eyes, my doctor started pulling out my tubes.  "When he started pulling out the last one, I said to myself, 'This is it.' But instead he said, 'Now I want you to order a sandwich.' I didn't think I heard him right. I hadn't eaten in nine months. I said, 'Are you kidding me?' But he said, 'No, order anything you want to eat. I don't know what happened, but the hole I couldn't fix between your stomach and intestine has healed itself. Your inflammation is gone. You're better.'"  Mother Marianne had helped one last patient.  Smith finally left the hospital in January of 2006. "I had never heard of Mother Marianne before this, but all those prayers with the help of God and Mother Marianne's intercession, I survived," Smith said. "I'm still flabbergasted."

'You are Our Miracle'
To give back to the sisters who helped her, Smith started regularly volunteering at Francis House, a medical facility the sisters run to care for the terminally ill. Smith spends much of her time there cleaning rooms and visiting patients.  As she walked out of a patient's room one day, she ran into the nun who used to bring her communion at the hospital.  "She said, 'Oh my God, are you the girl I saw in the hospital who was so sick?'" Smith said. "I thought Sister Michaeleen was going to pass out.  "She told me, 'You've got to see Sister Mary Laurence. You are our miracle. I know you are.' They dragged me up to Sister Mary Laurence, who was amazed. They thought they had their miracle."
And so it was, the Catholic Church concluded. After multiple doctors examined her medical records and could find no other explanation, the case went on to Pope Benedict XVI. In December 2011 he announced Mother Marianne would become a saint.
This weekend, Mahoney and Smith are both at the Vatican for the canonization service. Smith will present Pope Benedict XVI with a cross that contains a dirt relic from Mother Marianne's grave. To this day, Smith wonders why she has been chosen to be a part of something so big.  "I can't imagine that someone like me would experience a miracle. I'm an ordinary person," Smith said. "But the sisters explained that's who God and the saints use."  Sister Burkard is at the Vatican, as well.  "Every time I think about the large banner with her image that will hang on the Vatican for the ceremony, I get chills," she said.  "People tend to think of saints as these very special otherworldly people, but so much of (Mother Marianne's) life parallels so many other good people we know today," Burkard said.  "She probably could have done anything with her natural talents for leadership and organization, but she chose to make the world a better place. She would not let people's fear determine what she did or how people should be treated.  "She is a wonderful example for these difficult times. She gave people that others feared hope. She restored their dignity. That is the path she chose to walk."
By Jen Christensen CNN

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mother Of Outcasts' To Be A Saint For Leprosy Work

Oct 19, 2012 (Weekend Edition Saturday) — During a tragic era in Hawaiian history, more than 8,000 people with leprosy -- now known as Hansen's disease -- were banished to the island of Molokai. Mother Marianne Cope began caring for these patients in the late 1800s, answering their desperation with hope. Sunday, the nun became a saint.
A German-American nun became a saint Sunday, nearly a century after her death. Mother Marianne Cope is the second person to be honored in this way for caring for people in Hawaii with leprosy, now known as Hansen's disease.
During a tragic era in Hawaiian history, more than 8,000 people with leprosy were banished to Kalaupapa, a remote peninsula on the island of Molokai. Back then, there was no cure. The patients were treated as outcasts until a Belgian priest, Father Damien, came to care for them in 1873. Eventually he contracted the disease himself and died. He was canonized by the pope in 2009.
Just five months before Damien's death, Cope arrived in Kalaupapa. She worked in Hawaii in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Sister Alicia Damien Lau says Cope risked her life to care for people with leprosy.
"They had no idea what leprosy was all about and did not speak the language," she says. "They didn't understand the culture."
Cope, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis, spent 35 years caring for leprosy patients in Hawaii, mostly in Kalaupapa. She died there of natural causes at the age of 80.
Today, Cope continues to inspire Lau in caring for Hansen's disease patients. Lau says listening to their stories over the years has moved her to try to help some of them resolve their anger.
"Being in Kalaupapa and being here in the early days was worse than prison," she says.
Mother Marianne Cope (in wheelchair) before her death in 1918.
Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva says Cope also gave people hope and dignity.
"I think she took a situation where there was a lot of sadness and disfigurement, and tried to bring joy and beauty to it," he says.
Silva points out that Cope planted flowers and fruit trees so the settlement would be beautiful and the residents would have food.
Silva is in Rome for Cope's canonization. For him, it's a personal journey: He grew up knowing his great-grandfather and great-aunt were sent to Kalaupapa, though some of his relatives kept their exile a secret.
"So I asked my aunt, 'How is it that your children never knew this?' And she said, 'We were told never to talk about this because if someone in the family had leprosy, the whole family was suspect,' " Silva says.
Today, only 17 Hansen's disease patients remain in the state of Hawaii. One of them is Gloria Marks, who has lived in Kalaupapa since 1960.
"You know, it takes a lot of courage for somebody to give up and come to Kalaupapa to care for the patient," she says, in tears.
Marks attended Damien's canonization and is in Rome to see Cope elevated to sainthood.  "We are very, very proud of it. We can ... walk on clouds," she says.  Marks says Hawaii should be proud to have two saints from this little island.
Today, Cope's legacy lives on in Hawaii through the hospital she established, and through the work the sisters do in health care and education. They continue to take care of the elderly, the poor and the last remaining Hansen's disease patients in Kalaupapa.
by Heidi Chang
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No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Mozlink’ for any or all of the articles/images placed here. The placing of an article does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. 
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