The Road to Sainthood: Retracing Marianne's Roots

The Road to Sainthood: Retracing Marianne's Roots

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (HawaiiNewsNow) - Her childhood home on Schuyler Street is long gone, but there is still a sign marking the spot where a young girl named Barbara Cope lived before she found her calling with the sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse.

Cope took the name Marianne when she entered the Sisters of St Francis in Syracuse in 1863.

A group of Hawaii pilgrims, led by Bishop Larry Silva, draped lei on a sign that marks the spot where her house once stood.

"Our pilgrimage, of course, is going to sites where Marianne grew up, where she received her faith, and where it was nurtured," said Silva. "The home is certainly the first place where that starts."

Nine Hansen's patients are taking part in the pilgrimage, traveling to Syracuse and then on to Rome to learn more about the nun who left her life in New York to minister to the abandoned in Kalaupapa.

"It's just like getting to know her life, and how she ended up being in Hawaii and doing all the work in Kalaupapa," said pilgrim Pauline Chow.

There have been 63 Sisters of Saint Francis who followed in Mother Marianne's footsteps in Kalaupapa, and the patients made sure to visit her convent Saint Anthony to show their aloha.

Sister Roseanne Lamanche, one of the nuns from Saint Francis who served patients in Kalaupapa in 1949, recalls what it was like.

"We avoided touching them too much," said Lamanche. "And today you're giving each other big hugs? That's right. She makes me laugh."

A museum at St. Anthony reveals more about Mother Marianne's past, including letters, a pillowcase, and sewing pieces, along with a cross from her original gravesite. Flowers from Kalaupapa were also brought to the St. Anthony chapel so that they could be placed in front of Marianne's remains.

The group from Kalaupapa took part in a mass jointly celebrated with the bishops of Syracuse and Hawaii before wrapping up their tour of Syracuse with an emotional blessing of a new statue and garden in honor of Saint Marianne.

"Knowing what she was, who she is, knowing what she did for us… I think it's our turn to return the favor for her," said Boogie Kahilihiwa.

The next stop on the pilgrimage is Rome, where Marianne will be canonized by the Pope at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday at the Vatican, or 9:30 p.m. Sunday in Hawaii.

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