This is a weekend for American Catholics to rejoice and give thanks! Tomorrow the Pope will create seven new saints for the universal Church, and two of them are American figures.
Marianne Cope was the Sister of Saint Joseph who is best known for her ministry to the lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, after responding with several of other members of her community to the request of St. Damien of Molokai for help. Before moving to Molokai, she lived in Syracuse, NY, and founded a hospital there. (Unfortunately, Rome Reports is mistakenly saying in their report this week that she lived in Philadelphia! A better video, though not brand new, is here.)
The other is Kateri Tekakwitha, who becomes the first native American saint! Kateri was born and raised in central New York state.
Frankly, we’re especially excited about this among my own family, because we’ve had some personal contact with each of these great women. My wife and kids and I lived outside of Syracuse, NY, for 4 years. During that time, we were able to visit the tomb of Marianne Cope, which is at convent of the Sisters of Saint Joseph there.
We were also able to visit the site of the Mohawk village where Kateri lived most of her life. It’s outside of what is today Fonda, NY, and is now the National Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine. (I think what my kids remember most is that it was an incredibly hot July day, and they mostly wanted to get back in the car for the air conditioning!)
St. Marianne Cope, pray for us.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.