ROME, ITALY (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than a century after Mother Marianne left Syracuse to help Hansen's disease patients isolated in Kalaupapa, she's now one day away from becoming a Saint.
Marianne will be elevated to Saint after a 37-year petition by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Syracuse.
"In 1952, I was historian at the convent and said at the time I'm looking forward to the day Mother Marianne is canonized in '52 so it's a great joy for me to see this happen, " said Sister Roseanne LeManche of St. Francis Syracuse.
The Sisters opened her cause after investigating Marianne's life and letters for evidence of heroic virtue.
Letters accepting work ministering to the abandoned patients of Kalaupapa were key.
In 1883, she wrote, "I am not afraid of any disease. I feel an irrestible force drawing me to answer this call."
Mother Marianne was deemed venerable for her work in Syracuse hospitals to outcasts who wouldn't be treated elsewhere and for her compassionate care of Hansen's patients of Molokai when there was such fear of leprosy.
She became Blessed Marianne in 2005 after her first miracle was approved. Kate Mahoney survived after three vital organs shut down in her teens.
She remembers a Franciscan sister touching her with a relic of Marianne.
"I asked what happened and she said your full recovery is a miracle," said Kate Mahoney who presented a relic to the Pope at the beatification in 2005.
Afterwards, mother Marianne's body was removed from its original gravesite in Kalaupapa. People brought flowers to place on her coffin at a special viewing and mass at our lady of peace cathedral in downtown Honolulu, before they were returned to Syracuse and placed in a reliquary at St. Anthony, the chapel she built.
To become a Saint, mother Marianne needed Another Miracle attributed to her intercession after beatification.
She got it when Sharon Smith beat untreatable pancreatitis. A sister at St. Joseph's hospital opened by Marianne in Syracuse more than a century ago, pinned soil from the Blessed's grave to smith's hospital gown. Smith was cured.
"I've always believed in miracles. Just never thought I'd be one," said Sharon Smith. Three years after her second miracle was approved, came word that Mother Marianne would be canonized.
The Road to Sainthood has been a long journey as well for patients who have traveled all the way from Kalaupapa to Syracuse to Rome.
"By the time we got here, we're exhausted," said Hansen's patient Gloria Marks.
But the patients' fatigue pales in comparison to their faith, and the chance to celebrate the canonization of a second Hawaii Saint.
Boogie Kahilihiwa said, "That will be Sunday. One more chance to see the Pope. I'm looking forward to that."
Hawaii News Now will carry the Canonization on KGMB at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. We will also stream cast on HawaiiNewsNow.com.