While thousands are celebrating the canonization of two women with local ties at the Vatican, others are honoring them right here in their hometowns. One mass was held in honor of Saint Marianne Cope at St. Elizabeth's hospital, an institution she helped start. Our Cara Thomas said Saint Marianne's influences are still felt at the hospital today.
UTICA, N.Y. -- Many have heard the stories of Saint Marianne Cope, and how she sacrificed all earthly things to go to Hawaii and care for men and women with leprosy. And because of her strong faith, religious leaders said God protected her.
Father John Comeskey, the Chaplain at St. Elizabeth's, said, "And she promised the workers who were with her none of them would contact the disease and none of them ever did."
But, even before her endeavors in Hawaii, Saint Marianne changed lives right here in Central New York. Saint Marianne Cope helped found two of the first general hospitals in the entire country: St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Utica and St. Joseph's in Syracuse, where she introduced a new outlook on general medicine.
A sister of St. Francis, Sister Dolorosa Lenk, said, "Washing of the hands and everything was so great and not having infection be caught from one person to another and she brought that idea to St. Elizabeth hospital."
Saint Marianne was not only influential in the development of St. Elizabeth's hospital, but her values and character still affects how the hospital runs every day.
"We don't refuse anybody any care, regardless of race, creed or color. And we have always welcomed everybody to come. That influence of helping others, that whole idea of Marianne and Bernardina was to see God in the person and if you see them, you do anything you could to help," explained Sister Dolorosa.
So, as Saint Marianne is being canonized at the Vatican, those directly impacted by what she accomplished, celebrated.
A resident of Utica, Delia Finnegan, said, "I am very honored, to think that we have lived to see this Saint in our community. I think it's just absolutely, it's wonderful."
"She was a very holy person so we're very happy to celebrate someone who had a local connection here and was a founder of the hospital," said Father Comeskey.
Hospital staff said that through the St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Saint Marianne's legacy will live on forever.