Pilgrims heading to Rome for St. Francis sister's canonization

November 1, 2012

As Catholic Health World went to press, groups of pilgrims from Hawaii and New York were en route to Rome to take part in religious ceremonies marking the canonization of Blessed Marianne Cope, a Sister of St. Francis who helped to establish or bolster health care facilities in New York and Hawaii in the late 1880s. Blessed Cope was known for her leadership in providing health care services to lepers in Hawaii.

Sr. Agnelle Ching, OSF, is chief sponsorship officer of Honolulu-based St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii, a network of non-acute care sites whose roots trace back to Blessed Cope's ministry in what was then the Sandwich Islands. Sr. Ching told Catholic Health World in the days prior to the pilgrims' departure that there was a mood of excitement as local media reported on trip preparations for pilgrims attending the canonization and plans for celebrations for the faithful who remained behind in Hawaii. The canonization ceremony was to be streamed live to a meeting space in Honolulu.

"Everyone is getting into the picture," said Sr. Ching. Hundreds of Hawaiians — including Sr. Ching, fellow Sisters of St. Francis, patients at a facility started by Blessed Cope and community members — traveled to Rome for the canonization. Most were part of tours connected with the Diocese of Honolulu. All these tours included five days in Rome; one stopped in Utica, N.Y., for a prayer service and in Syracuse, N.Y., to visit the Sisters of St. Francis' motherhouse; and another stopped in Florence, Italy.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities of Syracuse had a contingent of nearly 100 people traveling to Rome for the Oct. 21 canonization service. As Catholic Health World went to press, Pope Benedict XVI was preparing to proclaim Blessed Cope and six others as Catholic saints during a Liturgy celebration at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

After the canonization, a relic of Blessed Cope will be on display at a series of churches around the Hawaiian Islands.

Sr. Ching said that the life of Blessed Cope is very meaningful to the people of Hawaii because stories of her ministry to the Hawaiian people have been passed down from generation to generation.

 

Copyright © 2012 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2012 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.