Home Calendar St. Marianne Cope

St. Marianne Cope

Born: January 23, 1838

Died: August 9, 1918

Feast: January 23

Patron of: lepers, outcasts, those with HIV/AIDS

Mother Marianne shunned publicity and thus is not as well known as Father Damien, whose own leprosy brought him prominence whether he wanted it or not. The former provincial of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Syracuse, New York, she had already founded Maui’s first hospital and a hospital for victims of leprosy near Honolulu when she responded to Father Damien’s plea for help. On Kalaupapa, she started a home for homeless women and children and worked beside Father Damien until his death in 1889. An older patient remembers her as “strict but kind.” She was also known for her regime of dignity, order, and cleanliness, requiring handwashing between treatment of patients, which did much to lessen contagion. She predicted that no sister would contract leprosy at Kalaupapa, and none ever has.

Mimi Forsyth

More about St. Marianne Cope:

Another side of paradise: The continuing work of Mother Marianne Cope and Father Damien De Veuster in Kalaupapa

Is Kalaupapa the world's most isolated spot? That's what Hawaii's King Kamehameha V thought in 1865, when he signed a law banishing people with advanced stages of leprosy to the north shore of the island of Molokai.

Image: billsoPHOTO, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons