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Saint Marianne Cope of Molokai

刊登日期: 2012.10.21
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  

Mother Marianne led a group of sisters from New York to the Hawaiian Islands in 1883 to establish a system of nursing care for leprosy patients.

Mother Marianne, formerly Barbara Koob (now officially Cope) was born January 23, 1838 and baptized the following day in what is now Hessen, West Germany. She was the daughter of farmer, Peter Koob and Barbara Witzenbacher Koob, his second wife. Peter Koob's first wife had nine children before she died, only two of whom reached adulthood. Peter and Barbara Koob had five children born in Germany, and five born in the United States. In 1839, the year following Barbara's birth, the family emigrated to the United States to seek a new start in the land of opportunity.

Peter Koob became a naturalized citizen in the 1850s as did his children, including Barbara, who were minors at the time. 

The Koob family became members of St. Joseph's Parish in Utica, N.Y., where the children, including Barbara, attended the parish school. Barbara received her first holy communion and was confirmed at St. John's Parish in Utica. It was the practice at that time for the bishop of the diocese to come to the largest church in the area to administer these two sacraments at the same time. 

Barbara wrote of experiencing a call to religious life at an early age. However, the desire to follow her vocation was delayed nine years because of family obligations. As the oldest child at home, and after completing an eighth grade education, she went to work in a factory to support the family when her father became an invalid. Only when her younger siblings could care for themselves did Barbara feel free to enter the convent. She did so one month after her father's death in the summer of 1862. She was 24 years of age.

Barbara entered the Sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse, N.Y. on November 19, 1862. 

On November 8, 1883, Mother Marianne left with 6 sisters to work in Hawaii. In her first two years on the island, Mother Marianne did so much good work that she was decorated by King Kalakaua with the medal of the Royal Order of Kapiolani for the acts of benevolence she planned and developed to help the suffering people of the kingdom. In 1884, at the request of the government, she established Malulani Hospital, the first general hospital on the island of Maui. 

St. Damien DeVeuster is known as the "Apostles to Lepers." Mother Marianne met Father Damien for the first time in January 1884. Two years later, in 1886, Father Damien was diagnosed with Hansen's disease ( leprosy 痲瘋病). Mother Marianne alone gave hospitality to the outcast priest upon hearing that his illness made him an unwelcome visitor to church and government leaders in Honolulu.

Mother Marianne arrived at Kalaupapa several months before Father Damien's death on April 15, 1889. With two assistants she was able to console the ailing priest by assuring him that she would provide care for the patients at Boy's Home at Kalawao. Two weeks after the death of Father Damien, Mother Marianne was placed in charge of his work. She continued to work tirelessly until her death of natural causes on August 18, 1918 at the age of 80. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2005 and will be canonized by Pope Benedict on Oct 21, 2012. Two miraculous healings have been attributed to her.

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