Relic makes stop at St. Francis School - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Relic makes stop at St. Francis School

Sister Joan of Arc Souza Sister Joan of Arc Souza
Blessed Marianne Cope Blessed Marianne Cope

By Steve Uyehara – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Students at Saint Francis School in Manoa got a special treat today. They got to see a relic from the Blessed Marianne Cope.

One by one the students walked to the front of the chapel made the sign of the cross and paid their respects to Hawaii's soon-to-be second Catholic saint.

"When we saw the relic, I felt like, we're in the presence of the Lord and I felt very special to be there," said Odessa Tolentino, an 8th grader at the school.

The relic is actually a piece of bone from the body of Cope who is known for her work in Kalaupapa.

That's where she cared for Hansen's Disease patients who were imprisoned, stripped of their rights, and kept from their family and friends.

The disease was not just deadly it disfigured it's victims.

"She actually went there with the sisters and she cared for them instead of being 'Oh my God, go away from me,' " said another student. "She felt kind, compassion for them and mercy and I think that's what Jesus wanted us all to do."

Cope worked closely with Hawaii's first saint Father Damien who was canonized just two years ago.

Before anyone is named a saint, two miracles must be performed in their name.

One miracle has already been confirmed for Cope and the second still needs to be verified.

Experts say they're close.

"There's different levels," said Sister Patricia Burkhard, the courier for the relic. "The first level that the case has to go through is with the Vatican doctors and medical staff. Then it goes to the theologians. Then all those approvals are met and it's recommended to the Holy Father as to sainthood."

Cope belonged to the religious order the Sisters of Saint Francis.

After she died in 1918 her fellow sisters bought the Manoa land and created Saint Francis Convent School on the site of the school we see today.

"We found out that the patients of Kalaupapa had made a collection and donated money to help the sisters purchase this land," said Sister Joan of Arc Souza, principal of St. Francis School.

The relic will now be taken on a tour of the islands so that Catholics across the state can pay their respects.

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