St. Marianne Cope
Though leprosy scared off most people in 19th-century Hawaii, that disease sparked great generosity in the woman who came to be known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. Her courage helped tremendously to improve the lives of its victims in Hawaii, a territory annexed to the United States during her lifetime (1898).
Mother Marianne's generosity and courage were celebrated at her May 14, 2005, beatification in Rome. She was a woman who spoke "the language of truth and love" to the world, said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes. Cardinal Martins, who presided at the beatification Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, called her life "a wonderful work of divine grace." Speaking of her special love for persons suffering from leprosy, he said, "She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother."
On January 23, 1838, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. The girl was named after her mother. Two years later the Cope family emigrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York. Young Barbara worked in a factory until August 1862, when she went to the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York. After profession in November of the next year, she began teaching at Assumption parish school.
Marianne held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation. A natural leader, three different times she was superior of St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would be useful during her years in Hawaii.
Elected provincial in 1877, Mother Marianne was unanimously re-elected in 1881. Two years later the Hawaiian government was searching for someone to run the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy. More than 50 religious communities in the United States and Canada were asked. When the request was put to the Syracuse sisters, 35 of them volunteered immediately. On October 22, 1883, Mother Marianne and six other sisters left for Hawaii where they took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu; on the island of Maui they also opened a hospital and a school for girls.
In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for "unprotected women and girls" there. The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne! On Molokai she took charge of the home that St. Damien de Veuster [May 10, d. 1889] had established for men and boys. Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.
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.
Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918 and was beatified in 2005 and canonized seven years later.
The government authorities were reluctant to allow Mother Marianne to be a mother on Molokai. Thirty years of dedication proved their fears unfounded. God grants gifts regardless of human short-sightedness and allows those gifts to flower for the sake of the kingdom.
Soon after Mother Marianne died, Mrs. John F. Bowler wrote in the Honolulu Advertiser, "Seldom has the opportunity come to a woman to devote every hour of 30 years to the mothering of people isolated by law from the rest of the world. She risked her own life in all that time, faced everything with unflinching courage and smiled sweetly through it all."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr
Are my tears not stored in your vial? (Psalm 56:9)
In a popular joke, a husband explains his secret for dividing up responsibilities with his wife: "I let her make all the little decisions: where we live, how much we spend, how we educate our children. She leaves all the big decisions to me: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global warming, the national debt."
It's a joke because, of course, husbands and wives need to make those vital "little" decisions together, and one individual has very little influence on the "big" issues. But it's important to be clear about which responsibilities belong to God and which ones he's delegated to us.
Sometimes we waste time and energy on things that aren't our concern or don't lie within our power. Once we have selected a caterer for a party and have given him a final head count, why worry whether we will run out of food? Why fret about tomorrow's weather instead of making a back-up plan and getting some sleep?
Today's Responsorial Psalm gives us an example. We can spend a lot of time keeping track of our tears and grievances. We want to make sure God—and everyone else—knows how much we've suffered. But the psalmist gently reminds us that it's God's job to keep track of the injustices against us. It's our job to trust that he will carry forward his good plan in his time.
So when fears and anxieties crop up, place them in your Father's capable hands. Ask him if there is anything you can do to improve your situation. If something comes to mind, do it, and leave the results to God. And if you tend to worry about things you can't control, try humorously handing them over to God:
"Whoops! I forgot that I'm not in charge of the weather. Lord, that's your department. You know how important this picnic is to me. Still, I'll praise you for your wisdom and welcome you to be with us even if it rains."
"Did I just try to make my grown-up son want to go to Mass? Again? That's between him and you, Lord. Thank you for the ways I've seen you work in his life so far. I know that every family takes its name from you, Father, so I'll trust you."
"O God, help me remember who is in charge. Lord, I trust in you!"
1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7; Mark 3:7-12
Serving God can be more often an honor than a pleasure. Jesus was being crowded by people with diseases and demons. He wanted to help all, and the task can be daunting for an ordinary human being. But He was more than ordinary, because they would just touch Him and He would heal them. This is twofold. Today's 5minutos ended with "Precisely the following of Christ, the conscious gratitude, the proclamation of His victory, are aspects of an answer of man to salvation that is offered by Jesus Christ. Do not forget, then, follow Him grateful, proclaiming with your good deeds the victory of His salvation."
The son of Saul vouched for David. David was saved. We too can vouch for one another instead of putting down one another, for in everything we do, we bless or we curse. The difference is how we serve one another and what we serve one another. Ever had a waiter at a restaurant really not take care of you? What about the one that seems to help perfectly, right there, on time, genuine smile, genuinely concerned? What a difference that makes right? Think about serving the Lord the same. The saint of today served like that, Mother Teresa served like that, and the latest popes have served like that...and you? What about me? What does all this have to do with me? It was only me and one brother in our co-worker bible sharing last night and I remember saying "it's like, when you serve real good, people keep coming". LOL, I'm thinking of a person that says yes to everything in church, and then the people catch on "well, why don't you ask that brother, they will do it". Then that person suddenly gets crowded with things to do, overcome almost. Pretty soon you find yourself bombarded with needs, the needs of others, and this is what happens when we take on the life of Christ. This is for hard workers. This is for courageous workers. Those that say "yes, I'll go to some far off island to be alone with all these sick people". Funny thing is, we are all on islands. We are all surrounded by people in need. In need of what? In need of who? Love, and Love. And God is love. The brother said last night, that now, after uniting in bible study, he can take the onslaught of others' insults more calmly. I said, "that is amazing, because it is a gift of God". We can bless in more ways than you can imagine, and there is no better blessing than the salvation, an eternal grace. Can we bless others with salvation? The son of Saul managed it through the grace of God for David. He was just a plain person like you and me, but his heart made all the difference...and that is where it begins
It Is An Honor To Serve,
TO HIM ALL THE HONOR AND GLORY