St. Marianne Cope was born in 1838 in western Germany. She moved to New York, and entered religious life in 1862 in Syracuse, where she served as teacher and principal in several schools throughout the state. Marianne established two of the first hospitals in central New York — St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse.
In 1883, an emissary from Hawaii visited New York in 1883, asking for Catholic sisters to provide health care on the Hawaiian Islands, especially to those suffering from leprosy. Mother Marianne and her community were the only one of 50 to respond with help.
Over the next five years, she set up a system of long-term education and care, ministering to patients at Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai. While she was there, she overlapped with the final years of St. Damien of Molokai, a priest who helped those suffering from Hansen’s disease. St. Damien died of leprosy.
Mother Marianne promised her community that they would never contract leprosy, and to this day, no sister has. She was known affectionately as the “beloved mother of the outcasts.”
St. Marianne died in 1918, and was beatified in 2005. Pope Benedict XVI canonized her on October 21, 2012.