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January 2008


The year 2007 has been an extremely busy and rewarding year with its Cause activities.  We are very grateful to God and thank all those who help us along by prayer, by Shrine and Museum participation and other support such as Guild membership. 

We began the year 2007 with big celebrations for Blessed Marianne’s second feast day, January 23rd, especially in the dioceses of Syracuse and Honolulu.  There were three days of celebration around Mother’s birthday/feast day. 

Check the archive pages for a more detailed description of these 2007 monthly activities.

Great commemorative events are being planned for 2008, including once again celebrating her feast day.

Sisters of St. Francis Celebrate Mother Marianne’s Feast Day with Special Activities in January

The Sisters of St. Francis will commemorate their significant 125th anniversary year with special activities in celebration of Mother Marianne’s Feast Day in January. Special liturgies, an original mele, awards program, a mosaic blessing, and presentations on Mother Marianne Cope are some of the ways the Sisters’ ministries throughout the islands will honor her feastday, officially observed Jan. 23—her birthday. The events are open to the public except where noted. 

“Mother Marianne is the reason the Sisters of St. Francis are in Hawaii," said Sister William Marie Eleniki, OSF, regional minister of the Sisters of St. Francis-Hawaii. “Mother Marianne, who came in 1883, spent 35 years in Hawaii, caring for Hansen’s disease patients in Honolulu and at Kalaupapa, as well as opening hospitals and schools. She is our legacy and continues to guide us in our mission of serving Hawaii’s people."

Activities include:

  • Mother Marianne’s Feast Day Celebration at Kalaupapa, Saturday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 a.m., St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa, Molokai. Liturgy and celebration honoring Blessed Marianne Cope followed by lunch.

  • Honoring Our Stars’ Labor of Love, Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Ala Moana Hotel. St. Francis Healthcare System will present Mother Marianne Awards, Employee Service Awards and will honor the Health Services for Senior Citizens team on its 25th anniversary, the St. Francis Home Care Services-Kauai team on its 30th anniversary and the Mobile Care Health Project for its dedication in providing dental care to the uninsured and underinsured on the Island of Hawaii. Comedian Frank De Lima will serve as emcee. (private event)

  • Mother Marianne’s Feast Day Mass, Wednesday, Jan. 23, Maria Lanakila Church and Sacred Hearts School in Lahaina, Maui. In January, St. Anthony Parish and High School/Grade School in Wailuku will have a liturgy, and Christ the King Parish in Kahului and St. Rita Parish in Haiku will also celebrate liturgies in honor of Blessed Marianne.

  • 125th Anniversary Celebration Liturgy, Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m., Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa in Honolulu. In celebration of Mother Marianne’s Feast Day, Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Larry Silva, deacons and priests. Prelude to the Mass will feature an original mele in honor of Mother Marianne Cope by Sean Tiwanak with assistance from Roland Cazimero and kumu hula Blaine Kia and hula dancers.

  • Blessing of Mother Marianne Mosaic, Sunday, Jan. 27 at 9:30 a.m., Immaculate Conception Parish in Lihue, Kauai. Mass followed by a blessing of a mosaic of Mother Marianne Cope by artist Karen Lucas and Sister Dorothy Santos.

  • 125th Anniversary Mass, Sunday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m., St. Joseph Parish in Hilo. Mass will include a celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of St. Francis in Hawaii, followed by a reception.

Mother Marianne was beatified in May 2005 in Vatican City. Beatification is the last, major step before sainthood.

Other 125th anniversary events in 2008 include:

  •  Benefit Musical Concert, August 2008 at the Hawaii Convention Center featuring a national act.
  •  125th Anniversary of the Sisters’ Arrival in Hawaii, Saturday, Nov. 8 at noon, Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu. Reenactment of the Sisters’ arrival in Hawaii featuring a horse-drawn carriage down Fort Street Mall to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace for a closing liturgy. Hawaiian organizations and hula dancers will also participate. Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Larry Silva, deacons and priests.


Immaculate Conception Parish on Kauai Commissions Mosaic of Mother Marianne Cope -
Oahu Artists Create 36" X 60" Mosaic

Mosaic of Bl. Marianne Cope

Artist Karen Lucas and Sacred Hearts Sister Dorothy Santos, both of Oahu, are putting the final touches on a mosaic of Blessed Marianne Cope for display in Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue, Kauai. This year, 2008, marks the 125th Anniversary of the arrival of Mother Marianne and the Sisters of St. Francis in Hawaii to care for patients with Hansen’s disease. The 36" X 60" mosaic will be completed in time for the Mass in celebration of Mother Marianne’s Feast Day, to be observed by the parish on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Sister Dorothy and Joseph Chang had created a mosaic of Father Damien DeVeuster for Immaculate Conception Church in 2005. Parish officials felt a mosaic of Mother Marianne would make a nice complement. 

“When I saw the beautiful mosaic of Father Damien, I just knew our parish had to also have a mosaic of Blessed Marianne," said Franciscan Sister Florence Remata, OSF, Director of Catechetical Ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish. “The Sisters of St. Francis are grateful to Father William Shannon for approving this project." The Mother Marianne mosaic will be installed on the wall opposite of the Father Damien mosaic in the church. Parishioners generously contributed toward payment for the mosaic.

“I saw the partially finished mosaic in November, and I was very pleased on how it was turning out," Sister Florence added.

The mosaic, which uses small colored glass, ceramic and gold tile pieces and smooth black stones, is a replica of a well-known formal portrait of Mother Marianne. Sister Dorothy added scenes of Kalaupapa as a backdrop, including Father Damien’s grave and the cliffs of Kalawao. St. Francis’ Tau cross in gold tiles is prominently displayed in the bottom right hand corner. “I’m especially pleased with how her face, fingers and prayer book have turned out," said Sister Dorothy.

“I learned how to make mosaics from Karen in 1996 after I retired as a primary school teacher," said Sister Dorothy, who is 86. Lucas began the process with the existing picture of Mother Marianne, making a stencil and enlarging it with the use of an overhead projector to draw the pattern onto the mosaic platform board, Sister Dorothy said.

The tile pieces were then cut with tile clippers to fit the image and applied with adhesive. The final process includes applying grout to create a smooth finish and waiting a few days before applying a silicone covering to preserve the mosaic, Sister Dorothy explained. They began making the mosaic in September. 

Over the past 11 years, the two have collaborated on numerous mosaic pieces that are displayed in Hawaii, California, Japan, and other places.

“The Mother Marianne mosaic captures her spirit and compassion for Hansen’s disease patients at Kalaupapa," Sister Florence said. “I thank the two artists for sharing Hawaii’s legacy through their wonderful artwork."                                                                                

The finishing touches are currently being done at the Sisters of Sacred Hearts Convent in Honolulu and will be shipped this month to Kauai for a blessing on January 27 at 9:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception. 

The Mother Marianne mosaic installation is among several activities to be held this year at ministries throughout the islands in celebration of the Sisters of St. Francis’ 125th Anniversary in Hawaii. The anniversary theme is, “Women of Vision, Women of Risk – Celebrating 125 Years of Service in Hawaii."

JANUARY 23, 2008


In June of 1883, during the second year of her second term as Provincial of the Sisters of St. Francis of Syracuse, Mother Marianne Cope received a letter from a priest in Hawaii.  It was written at the behest of the King and Queen of that Island Kingdom, requesting that Sister-nurses come to assist in caring for the “poor sick" living among the Sandwich Islands.  The priest had sent a similar letter to more than fifty religious communities in the United States and Canada, but only Mother Marianne offered him some hope.

And so it was that on November 8, 1883, four months after receiving that first letter, Mother Marianne and six volunteer Sister-nurses arrived in Honolulu.  Their intention was a care center over there, and then return to Syracuse.  When Mother Marianne took leave of her convent in Syracuse, she told her community, “I’ll be back."  Well, she got as far as Buffalo on the train and discovered that she had forgotten her steamship tickets for the journey across the Pacific.  When she returned from Buffalo, she remarked to the Sisters at the convent, “I told you that I would be back."  It was the last time they would see her.  For the next 35 years, Mother Marianne Cope and her Sister-nurses built schools and hospitals and residences for the poor lepers of the Hawaiian Islands.

Growing up as a young girl in the mid-1800's, Mother Marianne may well have imagined herself doing God’s work as a Franciscan Sister, educating others and bringing a healing touch.  If she could have seen the future, she might have been amazed at how she would start schools and hospitals from Utica to Syracuse and all the way to a leper colony in the far-off Pacific.

However, it is safe to say that she would never have imagined, 122 years after setting foot in the missions, and 87 years after her death, that Holy Mother Church would acclaim her among the “blessed in heaven" and recognize her cause for sainthood.

It is so appropriate that in today’s Mass we should have chosen for our Gospel text the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  They are nothing less than the concentrated memory of many hours of heart-to-heart communion between the disciples and their Master.  The Beatitudes are not simple statements; they are exclamations: “Oh the blessedness of the poor in spirit; the blessedness of the brokenhearted; the blessedness of the person who is meek, never angry at the wrong time, always angry at the right time, the person who has a God-controlled life."  The fact that Jesus sat down to teach on this occasion is an indication that this teaching is central, that it is official, that it is the very essence of Jesus’ teachings.  Rabbis often gave instructions when they were standing or strolling about, but their really official teaching was done when they had taken a seat.

In these verses, Jesus is talking about the blessedness of the Christian life.

Two things are worth noting here about this blessedness.  The most important thing is that it is not a pious hope of what shall be, it is not a glowing but nebulous prophesy about some future bliss; it is congratulations on what is.  The blessedness which belongs to the Christian is not a blessedness which is postponed to some future world of glory.  It is a blessedness which exists here and now.  It is not something into which the Christian will enter; it is something into which the Christian has entered.  The Beatitudes say in effect: “Oh the bliss of being a Christian; oh the joy of following Christ; oh the sheer happiness of knowing Jesus  as Master, Savior and Lord!"

The word blessed which is used in each of the Beatitudes is a very special word.  It is the Greek word “Makarios."  Makarios is the word which especially describes the gods.  Indeed, in Christianity there is a divine and god-like joy.  The meaning of makarios can best be seen from one particular usage of it.

The Greeks always called Cyprus “Makarios", the blessed isle, and they did so because they believed that Cyprus was so lovely, so rich, and so fertile an island that a man would never need go beyond its coastline to find the perfectly contented life.  It had such a climate, such flowers and fruits and trees, such minerals, such natural resources, that it contained within itself all the materials for perfect joy.  Makarios describes that joy which has its secret within itself, that joy which is serene and untouchable, and self-contained, that joy which is completely independent of all the chances and the changes of life.

The second thing is that the English word happiness gives its own case away.  It contains the root hap which means chance.  Human happiness is something which is dependent on the chances and the changes of life, something which life may give and which life may also take away.  The Christian blessedness is completely untouchable and unassailable.  “Your joy," said Jesus, “no man can take from you." (Jn. 16:22).  The Beatitudes speak of that joy which seeks us through our pain, that joy which sorrow and loss, and pain and grief, are powerless to touch, that joy which shines through tears and which nothing in life or death can destroy.

By definition, our Blessed  Mother Marianne Cope is now living in such a world and always has been.  In this poor world, of course, we can know of a change in fortune, the collapse in health, a failure of a plan, a disappointment of an ambition, even a change in the weather.  But the Christian has in its initial stages that serene and untouchable joy which comes from walking forever in the company and in the presence of Jesus Christ, a joy that has now reached its completion for Mother and for all of the blessed in the presence of the beatific vision.  This is the bliss and the joy that Mother Marianne Cope and her Sister-nurses experienced even in the here and now while building schools and hospitals and residences while living among those poor lepers on Kalaupapa in the Hawaiian Islands.

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