Catholic Heroes for Today: Part 1
U.S. sainthood causes flourish in 2011.
BY JOSEPH PRONECHEN
| Posted 8/7/11 at 3:25 AM
Sainthood causes introduced in the United States continue to be investigated by Rome. Since the Register looked at canonization causes in October 2010 (see also here), there have been exciting updates on a few in progress, plus some causes recently introduced.
Candidates range from those with mystical spiritual gifts to those who did ordinary things extraordinarily well. And there are some who helped strengthen families and had connections to other saints. Several were foreign-born, but all except one became American citizens.
This week at NCRegister.com, we’ll be looking at these causes and the miracles that Rome and diocesan tribunals have examined.
It’s “American Saints Week” at the Register.
Blessed Marianne Cope
In June, the cause of Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai, who died in 1918, took a giant leap forward when her Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in Syracuse, N.Y., received word from Rome that seven doctors at the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes medical board announced there was no medical explanation for the cure of a woman with a fatal condition.
Next comes final papal approval. A board of theologians will investigate the woman’s healing, and a committee of cardinals and bishops will examine the findings and make a judgment concerning canonization.
Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, the director/historian of the cause, says that the example of Blessed Marianne’s selflessness is as relevant and inspiring for the Church in the United States today as it was in her lifetime.
“Her selflessness comes through because she was revered here in the [Syracuse] area when she began one of the very first hospitals in the United States,” Sister Mary said. “In spite of that, she gave it all up, going over to Hawaii. She established the first [general] hospital for non-leprosy patients on the island of Maui. Five years later, she exiled herself on Molokai, taking care of leprosy patients.”
It was quite a distance from Germany, where she was born, and from Utica, N.Y., where she arrived as a year-old child with her parents.
Blessed Marianne met St. Damien De Veuster of Molokai, saw to his care on Oahu, and besides her own programs, brought to fruition several projects he sought to begin. She spent 30 years on Molokai caring for patients with leprosy, now called Hansen’s disease.
She insisted on cleanliness to prevent the spreading of disease. None of the sisters ever contracted leprosy.
Said Sister Mary, “Here was a person talented and beautiful in every way, and she followed God’s will no matter what the cost was to herself.”
Tomorrow: A Kansan in Korea. Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen writes from Trumbull, Connecticut.
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