Mother Marianne Cope

American Blesseds

Mother Marianne Cope (1838-1918)

The “Leprosy Nun.” Father Damien’s replacement – She was the daughter of German immigrants living in Utica, New York. Entering the Order of St Francis, Barbara Koob took the name of Marianne. Mother Marianne was 45 years old, been in the order 21 years and supervisor at St. Joseph Hospital in Syracuse when she accepted a post in the Hawaiian Mission.

Father Damien had contracted leprosy and would soon die with Mother Marianne at his bedside. For the next 30 years, taking his place, she and other sisters of St. Francis worked among the lepers caring and making them comfortable as there was no cure. She managed homes for boys as well as girls leaving a legacy of schools, orphanages and hospitals on four islands.

Never contacting leprosy, she managed to reach the age of eighty suffering Kidney disease and confined to a wheelchair. After supper on August 8th she asked to be wheeled to the veranda of the convent. Mother Marianne raised a weak hand, looked out over the grounds and gave her blessing to the facility. Returned to her room, she died peacefully in her sleep suffering a heart attack during the night. After a funeral mass at St. Francis Church, she was interred on the grounds of the Bishop School.

Sister Marianne was beatified in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica on May 14, 2005. Thu she follows in the footsteps of Father Damien who was beatified in 1995. Both only face a last step before sainthood.



  1. merel  •  Jan 9, 2011 @3:12 pm

    Thanks for this well writed post….love your blog!

  2. John Fielding  •  May 19, 2011 @10:28 am

    Video of the return, the Mass, and a tribute are available on Aloha.

  3. barb finnegan  •  Jun 25, 2011 @3:14 pm

    Father Damien is now canonized as of October 2009. And a day or two ago it was reported in the Syracuse newspapers that a new miracle attributed to Blessed Marianne was sent to Rome. So, maybe in the very near future, she will join her friend and inspiration in the ranks of the Saints! I’m so excited about this-she came from my hometown of Utica!

  4. anthony  •  Mar 4, 2012 @7:42 am

    She’s a saint soon!

  5. carole w  •  Mar 5, 2012 @1:18 am

    Canonized October 12, 2012 by Pope Benedict

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