Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It was with great joy that, just days ago, I learned from a friend in Hawaii that the remains of St. Marianne Cope are about to return permanently to the Hawaii she so loved, a land where she and her Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities lived and worked for over three decades - and where they still live and work! And right after that, I learned from Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu that that Honolulus Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, which will receive her remains, has been elevated to a minor basilica.

In the summer of 2012 I spent some time in Hawaii Oahu and Molokai, where Kalaupapa is located, the peninsula where St. Damien and St. Marianne cared for victims of leprosy with great love and dedication. That summer I explored the places where St. Marianne lived and worked and spoke to two Sisters of St. Francis who still live on Kalaupapa. I first traveled to Hawaii in the summer of 2008, mainly to research Fr. Damien but I also learned about Mother Marianne, both of whom have since become saints.

I am now looking at the life of Brother Joseph Dutton, a layman and veteran of the Civil War who, at age 43, came to Kalaupapa to help Fr. Damien minister to the victims of leprosy. Called Brother Joseph by Fr. Damien, he was there in 1889 when Damien died and stayed a total of 45 years, working with Mother Marianne as well. Josephs story is an amazing, riveting one that I began to tell after my third trip to Hawaii last summer. More to come!

I was blessed to attend St. Damiens canonization in October 2009 and St. Mariannes in October 2012.

Ive also been blessed with a very beautiful, loving Hawaiian ohana my family in Hawaii. I wish you could all know Bishop Larry Silva, Audrey and Yuki Toguchi, Sr. Davilyn AhChick (a sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities), Sr. Malia Wong, Trip and Jan McKinney, Maria Devera, Maria Sullivan, Vince Sava, Sr. Marykutty, Fr. Pat Killilea, and Fr. Bill Petrie. Audrey, whose cure of lung cancer was the miracle needed for Damiens canonization, loves to bring people together or, as she calls it, connecting the dots. I am fairly sure I know all of the above because of Audrey!

Following is the diocesan announcement about St. Marianne that has so excited all of us, to which I have added some information and photos from my previous visits to Hawaii:

St. Marianne Cope is returning to Hawaii to stay. The remains of Hawaiis second saint, which were unearthed from her Kalaupapa resting place in 2005 and enshrined in Syracuse, N.Y., in preparation for her beatification that year, will come back to the Islands this month to reside permanently in Honolulus Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace.

Since 2005, the remains have been enshrined in Syracuse in St. Anthony Convent Chapel at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, the religious congregation to which St. Marianne belongs. The motherhouse is closing and moving to a new location, which is one of the reasons the remains are being relocated.

Bishop Larry Silva will welcome the remains at the cathedral at a 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, July 31. A formal ceremony and Mass will follow.

The remains are the full collection of the saints bones sealed in a 48-by-20-by-12 inch metal box. In the cathedral, the box will be placed upright in the existing koa and glass display cabinet that now holds a small reliquary with a relic of St. Marianne.

On either side of the altar, against a wall, are cabinet-style relic holders that contain flower-bedecked wood boxes with relics of each of the two saints. The relic holders, as you can see in these photos, are flanked by two kahilis. This is where St. Mariannes remains will rest permanently.

Kahilis are feathered standards that are carried in procession as a symbol of honor for an individual. Each kahili has 10,000 feathers, each feather a prayer in honor of the one for whom the kahili is made in this case, St. Marianne. The kahilis that flank her reliquary were made by some of the Sisters of St.. Francis as well as administrators and parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Peace cathedral.

St. Marianne will be the only American saint whose remains will be enshrined in a cathedral, the mother church of a diocese. Sister Davilyn was my very special guide in 2012 to a number of significant places in Honolulu associated with Blessed Marianne. The first and most meaningful was Honolulus Our Lady Queen of Peace Cathedral as it houses relics of both Saints Damien and Marianne.

The cathedral was built during Hawaii's missionary era and served as the mother church of the Vicariate Apostolic of the Hawaiian Islands. It was dedicated on August 15, 1843 under the title of Our Lady of Peace. This statue of Our Lady stands in the courtyard outside the cathedral. Saint Damien was ordained to the priesthood on May 24, 1864, in this cathedral, a church established by his religious order, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The interior of the cathedral.

Behind the more modern, main altar is a screen behind which is the original altar. People come here to pray throughout the day. This depiction of St. Marianne is in the sacristy area behind the original altar.

St. Marianne Cope arrived in Hawaii in 1883 from Syracuse with six companion sisters to care for natives with Hansens disease. Shortly afterward on Maui she opened Malulani Hospital, now called Maui Memorial Medical Center, and the Kapiolani Home for the healthy children of leprosy patients.

In 2012 Sr. Davilyn and I had a picnic in Kakaako Park at Kewalo Basin where there is this beautiful statue of Mother Marianne.

In 1888, she went to Kalaupapa to run Bishop Home, a complex of cottages for the female patients. Since then until today, approximately 65 Sisters of St. Francis have served in Kalaupapa as nurses and health care workers.

St. Marianne died at age 80 in Kalaupapa in 1918 and was the only Sister of St. Francis to be buried there. She was beatified at the Vatican on May 14, 2005. Pope Benedict XVI canonized her a saint on Oct. 21, 2012.

These 2 photos were taken during the 2005 exhumation of the remains of Mother Marianne. Remains were examined forensically to certify beyond a doubt they indeed were of Mother Marianne and had in no way been tampered with since her burial in 1918. Sr. Davilyn is in the center.

A sign on Kalaupapa that tells the terrible truth about the victims of leprosy who were forced to live here in exile, the people helped by Damien, Marianne and Brother Joseph for decades.

Mother Mariannes original grave on Kalaupapa (from which her remains were exhumed in 2005).

Even before her canonization, Hawaiians call her St. Marianne, as seen on this flag that flies on Kalaupapa where Marianne served for so many years. I took this photo in the summer of 2012, before the canonization.


As casualties continue to mount in the war between Hamas and Israel, diplomatic efforts to stop the conflict are underway. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry headed to Cairo Monday to try to renew cease-fire efforts aimed at ending the fighting.

And, as we saw, on Sunday Pope Francis made a strong appeal for dialogue and an end to the violence.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the Holy See nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, said: The Holy Father's words have had a major impact here and were taken from all official media, both print as well as radio stations and broadcasters. Everyone has repeated the appeal of the Holy Father. That's what we all hope here because the situation is becoming truly tragic: there is a loss of human life that is not acceptable; we must put an end to violence because this creates other conflict situations. They open new wounds that continue to produce even more death. It is urgent that those responsible understand that there is no other path than that of dialogue and negotiation; stakeholders must be helped and should be brought to the negotiating table.

The nuncio noted that on June 8 in the Vatican, Pope Francis hosted a day of prayer for peace together with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He followed up that encounter this past weekend with a phone call urging the two leaders to press for peace. What the Holy Father has done, says the archbishop, isto sow the first seed of dialogue.

Now, urged Archbishop Lazzarotto, let us surround this seed with care, make it grow and make it bear the fruit that it should give; understand the meaning of the gesture of the Pope and translate it into concrete actions such as the Holy Father is urging continuously. It takes concrete actions and courage. The Pope pointed out many times: peace needs courageous gestures. It is time for political leaders of all parties to understand this and move in this direction.

He said, people are tired because the conflict has lasted too long. These recurring incidents of conflict naturally create more frustration, but most of the people want peace.

With the resources it has available, the Church in the Holy Land, added the nuncio, does everything it can in this situation to help. As an example of concrete gestures, he indicates the on-site assistance that local Catholic aid agencies such as Caritas are able to offer to bring immediate help to these people who are directly affected.

Archbishop Lazzarotto concluded his remarks with an appeal to pilgrims not to stay away from the Holy Land, noting that many pilgrims have canceled their trip, their pilgrimage: But I say that coming to the Holy Land is also a nice gesture of solidarity. It helps to know that other Christians - despite everything - come here.

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