Friday, November 30, 2012

Relic of St. Marianne Cope visits island

Joseph Durocher, a student at St. Catherine's School,
holds the Relic of Saint Marianne Cope, flanked by Michela Costa
and Sister Grace Michael Souza, Monday during
the veneration mass at the St. Rafael Church in Koloa.
(Photo: Denis Fujimoto)
KOLOA — Kaua‘i people had two opportunities to visit a relic of St. Marianne Cope Monday. “It’s a beautiful day on Kaua‘i,” said Sister Florence Remata of Immaculate Conception Church who just returned from Rome, where she attended the recent canonization of St. Marianne Cope. “We will host two visitations, one at St. Raphael Church where a Veneration Mass will be held, and the other, a play, at Immaculate Conception Church in Kapai‘a, Monday night. There will be no Mass at the ICC event.” Remata said the visitation of the relic to Kaua‘i was done through the Sisters of St. Francis of Neumann Communities, Order of St. Marianne Cope.
Escorting the relic during its visit to Koloa were Remata, Sister Candida Oroc of Waimea and Sister Grace Michael Souza of Kalaheo. Nearly 200 students from St. Theresa School in Kekaha and St. Catherine School in Kapa‘a formed the major core of the audience at St. Raphael’s, the parishioners of other island Catholic parishes overflowing the remainder of space in the Koloa hall. Joseph Durocher of St. Catherine School was silent as he nervously accepted the gold case encasing the relic from Souza just ahead of the Veneration Mass. “Is that the relic?” a parishioner whispered as the processional formed at the church’s entrance. “I thought it would be in a big box.” Representatives from all the Catholic churches on Kaua‘i participated in the Mass. The students from both Catholic schools offered canned and non-perishable food during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
“This is only the second time the two Catholic schools have gotten together,” said Celina Haigh, principal of St. Catherine School. “The first time was at Kamalani Playground where we got together to celebrate Catholic School Week. This time, it goes beyond the school.” Mary Jean Buza-Sims, principal at St. Theresa School, was also thrilled with the students having the opportunity to visit the relic and be an integral part of the Veneration Mass.  “We’re down to just 99 students,” Buza-Sims said, noting the school was featured in a Honolulu newspaper because of its rapidly declining enrollment. “Once we had 167 students, but that was before the economic crunch hit. We’ve been losing students because parents aren’t able to pay for their children’s school.”  Buza-Sims said the school will be working on a Thanksgiving project to feed homeless and needy people on Nov. 19, starting at 11 a.m.
 Mother Marianne Cope, serving as superior general of the congregation in 1883, responded to the plea sent to 50 religious congregations from the bishop of the Sandwich Islands at the request of the king and queen, for “sisters of charity” to care for the “poor, afflicted people” of the islands, states a solicitation flier on St. Marianne Cope.  Mother Marianne and six sisters traveled to Honolulu where they served at the hospital in Kaka‘ako which provided care to people believed to have Hansen’s disease, or leprosy.  In 1884, Mother Marianne traveled to Maui, founding Malulani Hospital, the island’s first hospital, as well as St. Anthony School.  In 1888, Mother Marianne and the sisters moved to Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i, to care for those with Hansen’s disease who had been exiled to the island’s peninsula.
 Mother Marianne brought professional hospital care and infection control procedures to the settlement, and additionally, “a woman’s touch,” working to improve patients’ quality of life by treating them with dignity and respect and by creating a meaningful and supportive community environment. She passed away on Aug. 9, 1918, after caring for Hansen’s disease patients for 35 years. Following a 37-year pursuit of making Mother Marianne a saint, she was canonized on Oct. 21, making her the first Franciscan woman from North America to be named a saint.
Visit for more biographical information on Saint Marianne Cope and original article and more photos at ""
 • Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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