October 10, 2012
St. Elizabeth Medical Center is planning a special Mass in celebration of the canonization of Saint Marianne Cope, which will take place on that day in Rome, Italy. The Mass will be held on Sunday, October 21 at 12 noon in the Medical Center Chapel on the first floor. All are welcome to attend.
Pope Benedict XVI will officially proclaim Mother Marianne Cope a Saint in the Catholic Church. Mother Marianne was a member of the Sisters of St. Francis and known for her work among the people suffering from Hansen’s disease (leprosy) in Molokai, Hawaii.
Mother Marianne Cope was born Barbara Koob, in 1838 in Germany. She emigrated with her parents and settled in West Utica. Mother Marianne was the oldest of 10 children in her family. Her father became very ill and Barbara went to work in a mill factory to help support her family. During that time, she and her family were parishioners at St. Joseph Church in West Utica (now St. Joseph-St. Patrick).
Mother Marianne Cope, a Sister of St. Francis, entered religious life in 1862 in Syracuse, N.Y. For a period of time, she ministered as teacher and principal in several schools in New York State. She was instrumental in the establishment of two of the first hospitals in the Central New York area, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica (1866) and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse (1869). These two hospitals were among the first 50 general hospitals in the entire U.S.
In 1883, Mother Marianne was the only one of 50 religious leaders to respond positively to an emissary from Hawaii with a request for Catholic sisters to provide healthcare on the Hawaiian Islands, especially to patients with Hansen’s disease (leprosy). For more than 30 years, Mother Marianne ministered to these patients at Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii and promised her sisters that none of them would ever contract the disease. To this day, no sister has. Her compassionate care has earned her the affectionate title of “beloved mother of outcasts.”
Many of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, along with lay people from Utica, Hawaii and beyond, will be traveling to Rome for the canonization ceremony.
The Medical Center has recently installed a large banner on the outside of the building, as well as driveway banners and posters, to commemorate Mother Marianne and her impact in the establishment of the hospital.
Kateri Tekakwitha, a native American Indian, will be canonized at the same time. Kateri Tekakwitha was known as the Lily of the Mohawks and was born in Auriesville, New York.