Colleague of Father Damian to Be Beatified

Mother Marianne Cope Worked With Lepers on Molokai

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican attributed a miracle to the intercession of Mother Marianne Cope, who devoted her life to care for lepers alongside Father Damien on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

The Congregation for Sainthood Causes announced the decree today in the presence of John Paul II, thus clearing the way for her beatification. No details of the miracle were immediately released.

Born as Barbara Koob in Germany, she moved to New York when she was 3 and became an American citizen. She later joined the sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Syracuse, New York.

Later, as superior of the Franciscan convent in Syracuse, Mother Marianne answered King David Kalakaua’s request for assistance for children with leprosy, described as a “national affliction” in Hawaii. She took six other nuns and she remained in the islands until her death in 1918 at 80.

The religious worked in Kalaupapa, on Molokai, alongside Father Damien de Veuster during the last five months of his life. The Belgian priest died of leprosy in 1889 and was beatified in 1995.

After Father Damien’s death, Mother Marianne ran the home for men and children with leprosy in Molokai. Her legacy has inspired books, plays and songs.

In addition to establishing a home for women with leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, in Molokai, she started what is now the Maui Memorial Hospital, the first on the island.

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