About St Marianne Cope Image
About St Marianne Cope

St Marianne Cope was a Franciscan nun whose family emigrated to the United States from Germany when she was a baby. She became the Superior General of her congregation, accepted a request to move to Hawaii and serve the lepers there, and did so for the rest of her life, following in the footsteps of St Damien of Molokai.

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Who Was Saint Marianne Cope?

St Marianne Cope was a Franciscan nun whose family emigrated to the United States from Germany when she was a baby. She became the Superior General of her congregation, accepted a request to move to Hawaii and serve the lepers there, and did so for the rest of her life, following in the footsteps of St Damien of Molokai.

St Marianne Cope, O.S.F. was born on January 23rd, 1838, in what is now Germany. She traveled to Hawaii and served the lepers there on the island of Molokai.

Her baptismal name was Maria Anna Barbara Koob, which was later anglicized to Cope.

Her family came to the U.S. when she was a baby and made their home in Utica, New York.

In eighth grade, she had to work in a factory to help provide for her family, because her father had become incapacitated.

After her father died and her siblings came of age, she was able to enter the novitiate with the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis (Syracuse, New York).

It was during this time as a religious that she took the name of Marianne.

She taught school to German immigrants and also founded two Catholic hospitals in the area.

St Marianne eventually became the Superior General of her congregation.

In 1883, King Kalakaua of Hawaii sent a desperate request for help in treating the leprosy patients in Molokai. Scores of other religious congregations had already turned him down, but Mother Marianne said yes, and she and six of her sisters went to Honolulu

St Marianne first served the lepers at the hospital for them on Oahu, but in 1888, she moved to Kalaupapa to help Father (now Saint) Damien of Molokai, who by this time was sick and dying from leprosy.

When the St Damien died, Mother Cope assumed the primary duties to take care of the leprosy patients of Kalaupapa.

She remained there until her death in 1918. She never contracted the disease.

Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918.

Mother Marianne was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on May 14th, 2005.

Pope Benedict canonized her on October 21st, 2012.

She is the patron saint of lepers, outcasts, those with HIV/AIDS, and Hawaii.