Thought for the Day – 23 January – The Memorial of St Marianne Cope (1838-1918)
“The life of Marianne Cope is a wonderful work of divine grace. She demonstrated the beauty of the life of a true Franciscan. The encounter of Mother Marianne with those suffering from leprosy took place when she was far along on her journey to Christ. For 20 years she had been a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis of Syracuse in New York. She was already a woman of vast experience and was spiritually mature. But suddenly God called her to a more radical giving, to a more difficult missionary service.
Blessed Marianne, who was Provincial Superior at the time, heard the voice of Christ in the invitation of the Bishop of Honolulu. He was looking for Sisters to assist those suffering from leprosy on the Island of Molokai. Like Isaiah, she did not hesitate to answer: “Here I am. Send me!” (Is 6: 8). She left everything and abandoned herself completely to the will of God, to the call of the Church and to the demands of her new brothers and sisters. She put her own health and life at risk.”….Homily of Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins on the Beatification of St Marianne Cope 14 May 2005
Awarded the Royal Order of Kapiolani by the Hawaiian government and celebrated in a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mother Marianne continued her work faithfully. Her sisters have attracted vocations among the Hawaiian people and still work on Molokai.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Poem
for St Marianne Cope –
Missionary to Leprosy Patients
To the Reverend Sister Marianne, Missionary to Leprosy Patients
Matron of the Bishop Home, Kalaupapa.
To see the infinite pity of this place,
The mangled limb, the devastated face,
The innocent sufferers smiling at the rod,
A fool were tempted to deny his God.
He sees and shrinks; but if he look again,
Lo, beauty springing from the breasts of pain!
He marks the sisters on the painful shores,
And even a fool is silent and adores.
“Rivers of living water will gush forth from the heart” of the one who believes in Christ. The signs of his presence are summarised in the Letter to the Galatians: They are: “love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness and chastity” (5: 22).
St Marianne Cope Pray for us!