Dec. 19th. 2011: Blessed Marianne Cope followed Fr. Damien's footsteps by serving the leper colony on Moloka‘i, arriving several months before his death in 1889 and toiling until her own death, from natural causes at Age 80 in 1918.  And now she's a small step away from formally joining him in saintdood, thanks to Pope Benedict XVI's decrss signed earlier today that recognizes a second miracle attributed to her intercession.
Known as Mother Marianne until her beatification in 2005, she was born in Germany and raised in upstate New York, where she joined the Sisters of St. Francis and became a school principal and hospital administrator, co-founding hospitals in Utica and Syracuse before heading to the Hawaiian Islands in 1883 to lead a seven-nun nursing mission. (For details of her widely hailed hospital reforms and her devoted care for and education of the exiled patients of Hansen’s disease — as leprosy is now known — see her biography here.)
A canonization date can’t be set until a special cardinals’ meeting in Rome, according to today’s Catholic News Service report, but it will apparently be pro forma. For the few remaining patients of Kalaupapa, still cared for by Sisters of St. Francis, and those in Moloka‘i’s struggling visitor industry hoping for a few more pilgrims, “Saint Marianne” would be a rare occasion to celebrate.