Saint of the Day – 23 January – St Marianne Cope O.S.F. also known as Saint Marianne of Molokaʻi- (Born Maria Anna Barbara Koob in 1838-died 1918 aged 80) Virgin, Religious, Missionary to lepers – Patron of Lepers, outcasts, those with HIV/AIDS, Hawai’i.
St Marianne was a German-born American nun who was a member of the Sisters of St Francis of Syracuse, New York and administrator of its St. Joseph’s Hospital in the city. Known also for her charitable works, in 1883 she relocated with six other Sisters to Hawaiʻi to care for persons suffering Hansen’s Disease on the island of Molokaʻi and aid in developing the medical infrastructure in Hawaiʻi.
In November 1888, Cope moved to Kalaupapa. She cared for the dying Fr. Damien of Molokai (pictured) who was already known internationally for his work in the leper colony and began to take over his burdens. She had met him shortly after her arrival in Hawaii. When St. Damien died on 15 April 1889, the government officially gave Cope charge for the care of the boys of Kalaupapa, in addition to her existing role in caring for the female residents of the colony.
Despite direct contact with the patients over many years, Cope did not contract the disease. She died from natural causes at the age of 80. In 2005 Cope was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI and declared a saint by the same pope on October 21, 2012, along with St. Kateri Tekawitha.