ROME, ITALY (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Mother Marianne came to Hawaii to help Hansen's disease patients, she brought six sisters of Saint Francis with her. Together, they opened hospitals and schools that still serve the state today.
Mother Marianne's legacy in Hawaii goes beyond the care of Hansen's disease patients in Kalaupapa. Her arrival in 1883 brought the Sisters of Saint Francis to the Islands.
"She plays role, literally and figuratively here at St.Francis. Oh yes. Do you get reminders as you see her photos, pictures of Kalaupapa? Usually I'm going by quickly," says Dr. Paul DeMare, St. Francis Medical Director.
Doctor Paul DeMare will make time to take it all in, as a special guest during the canonization. You see, he is not just any ordinary St. Francis Doctor.
"I call her aunt Barbara. Her name was Barbara" explains Dr. DeMare.
He's Mother Marianne's great great nephew, a direct descendant.
"I don't know if my Aunt would really look forward to being called a Saint" jokes DeMare.
Growing up he heard stories about his Aunty, but didn't "get it" until he went to Kalaupapa.
"I came as an intern in 1967 and I knew my Aunt had been here but those were old stories from the family that you know growing up, you don't pay much attention to."
Dr. DeMare is paying attention now. So is the rest of the world as Mother Marianne's story spreads.
The next generation is learning all about Marianne at another offshoot of her mission to Hawaii- St. Francis Schools. The Manoa campus opened as a place for future nuns to complete their studies. Hansen's disease patients donated a lot of the money to help the Sisters buy the property and keep Mother Marianne's legacy alive.