ROME, ITALY (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Saint Francis Sister who helped Hansen's disease patients is now Hawaii's second saint.
225 Hawaii pilgrims traveled to Rome for the canonization of Blessed Marianne Cope.
Hours before the sun came up, eager pilgrims lined up outside St. Peter's Square a full five hours before the start of a special mass. When the time came to enter the square, nine Hansen's disease patients from Kalaupapa were escorted to the front.
Bells signaled the start was near, and then a procession led the way for Pope Benedict XVI.
Cheers from Hawaii's pilgrims greeted an announcement for Blessed Marianne Cope.
Then the Pope formally canonized the seven blesseds, detailing the good deeds that led to sainthood.
Pope Benedict recognized Blessed Marianne's devotion to Hansen's disease patients when everyone else was afraid to help in Kalaupapa.
"At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm," the pope said in English.
St. Francis Sister Alicia Damien Lau and patient Pauline Chow were chosen to receive Communion from the Pope.
"Felt very special being so close to him and receiving communion. I looked up at him and he looked up at me, said Chow.
For the patients it's been a long road to sainthood, the second in three years.
"It's our second saint and it was just beautiful today," said Hansen's patient Boogie Kahilihiwa.
"It's a blessing for us to witness both saints from our place small little county of Kalawao," said Marks.
Bishop Larry Silva of Diocese of Honolulu said, "To have just one saint would be blessing, but to have a second and of course, we're thinking of possibly a third."
The Sisters of St. Francis championed Marianne's cause for 37 years so they were overcome with joy to watch the first Franciscan Sister become a Saint.
"We already knew she was a saint but to be sanctioned by Pope Benedict was just awesome," said Sister Davilyn Ah Chick.
Sister Malia Wong said, "Now that she's canonized and proclaimed a saint we can say like Batman or Superman we have a real avenger.
For more on Saint Marianne go to our special section by clicking HERE.