Updated 10/15/2012 07:44 AM
Hawaiian pilgrimage remembers Saint Marianne Cope
Mother Marianne Cope's journey to sainthood comes full circle this week. Sunday admirers from Hawaii were among the people retracing her life in Central New York. YNN's Cara Thomas shows us how the saint to be was honored.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- When Mother Marianne traveled to Hawaii in 1883 it wasn’t for a vacation. As a sister of St. Francis, she cared for patients on the islands who had been exiled with leprosy.
Sister Davilyn Ah Chick, a Sister of St. Francis, said, “That type of disease was very repugnant and as you well know, Christ embraced the leper, St. Francis embraced the leper and so did St. Damien and now Saint Marianne Cope.”
As a result of the countless lives she changed, Mother Marianne Cope is being recognized at the highest level. In just a week, she will be canonized into the Roman Catholic Church and become a Saint.
Sebastino Fernandez, a Kalaupapa resident, said "It’s a really big deal for us and for Mother Marianne. God bless her.”
A pilgrimage group from Hawaii made up of religious leaders, sisters, as well as leprosy patients wanted to learn more about the saint to be. They found out how Mother Marianne grew up.
Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu said, “Pilgrimage is praying with your feet if you will and we wanted to kind of go into her footsteps. What was her journey? What was her growing up like? Where did she receive the faith and have the faith nurtured in her?”
The group traced back her footsteps to Mother Marianne's church, going to where her home once stood, and traveling to the cemetery where her parents bodies lay. And for many of the patients whose ages range from their 70s to their 90s, they say this trip is not easy to make, but well worth it.
Meli Watanuki, a Kalaupapa resident, said, “Even though I’m so tired, but I be strong to come here because of Mother Marianne’s big day. And we’re going to take Mother Marianne with us.”
Many people from Central New York and Hawaii will be attending the canonization at the Vatican. YNN's Bill Carey will also be there providing special coverage all week long and a documentary airing next weekend.