Today is the feast of Saint Marianne Cope, a German-American immigrant, who joined the Franciscan Sisters in Syracuse. In 1883, she left her position as provincial and six other sisters left for Hawaii to serve the lepers. She died there, on August 9, 1918, after serving on the island of Molokai for thirty years. One of her first patients was Saint Damian of Molokai.
But there is a part of this story that reveals the holiness of her sisters.
The king of Hawaii had contacted more than fifty religious orders seeking some sisters to serve the lepers, in the Kakaako Receiving Station for people who might have leprosy.
Hansen’s disease was dreaded in those days and most were reluctant to take on what was perceived as a dangerous mission.
When the request came to the sisters in Saint Marianne Cope’s province, thirty-five volunteered immediately. What generosity! What trust in the Providence of God! What love!
Saint Marianne was canonized. But what of the other six who went with her? What of the other twenty-nice who had volunteered? Do they not also show us the face of holiness, the willingness to see Christ in the face of the leper, the outcast?
I am inspired by Saint Marianne but today I find myself even more inspired by these anonymous sisters who had the courage to say yes to God.
All you holy women, saints of God, intercede for us.
The image was downloaded from this site