Relic of Catholic nun to tour Hawaii

Published: Apr. 28, 2011 at 2:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At the request of Bishop Larry Silva of the Diocese of Honolulu, the Sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York will give a first class relic of Blessed Marianne Cope to the Diocese of Honolulu.

Blessed Marianne is, after St. Damien, Hawaii's second candidate for sainthood. She succeeded Father Damien as the guiding force of the Hansen's disease settlement in Kalaupapa, Molokai, from 1889 until her death there in 1918.

Sister Patricia Burkard, general minister of the Mother Marianne's religious community, the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities, will bring the relic -- bone fragments from Blessed Marianne's remains -- to Hawaii on May 4.

First class relics are parts of the body -- usually bone or hair -- of a saint or beatified person. Second-class relics are items used by the saint such as clothing or a book. Third class relics are items that have been touched by a first or second-class relic, usually pieces of cloth or a holy card.

The relic will begin a tour of the islands on May 6, stopping at selected churches for veneration and Mass, before it is put on permanent display in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace on May 13. May 14 is the sixth anniversary of Mother Marianne's beatification in Rome.

"Blessed Marianne's first visit to a place of worship in Hawaii was to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, where on the day of her arrival on November 8, 1883, she was welcomed by Bishop Koeckemann, by the Sacred Hearts Congregation's priests and sisters, by the Brothers of Mary, and a crowd of Hawaiians of every faith who filled every available space in the church," said Burkard.

The bone fragments were collected when Blessed Marianne's remains were exhumed from her gravesite in Kalaupapa in January 2005 for transport to the motherhouse of her Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse. The fragments were rechecked for their authenticity by a forensic anthropologist in Utica, N.Y., Blessed Marianne's hometown.

The schedule of the relic's visit to the neighbor islands and Oahu are:

-- May 6: 7 p.m., St. Damien Church, Kaunakakai, Molokai

-- May 7: 10:30 a.m., St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa, Molokai

-- May 8: 2 p.m., Sacred Hearts Church, Lanai City, Lanai

-- May 9: 6:30 p.m., Christ the King Church, Kahului, Maui

-- May 10: 7 p.m., St. Joseph Church, Hilo, Big Island

-- May 11: 6 p.m., Annunciation Church, Kamuela, Big Island

-- May 12: 7 p.m., Immaculate Conception Church, Lihue, Kauai

-- May 13: 6 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, Honolulu