Posts Tagged ‘Saint Marianne Cope’

Celebration of Saint Marianne Cope

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

In addition to my reflection on Tuesday, I thought you might like to read a copy of the homily delivered by Bishop Silva of Honolulu at the canonization celebration of Saint Marianne Cope.

Saint Marianne Cope of Molokai

Photo courtesy of Sisters of St. Francis

Homily of the Most Reverend Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu for the Post-Canonization Celebration of Saint Marianne Cope, O.S.F.

Saturday, January 12, 2013 – Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii

Saturday of the Week between Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord

She was a rising star. This young woman who had matured so well because she cared for her family as a young bread winner was excitedly welcomed by the Sisters of St. Francis. This young Sister shone so brightly that she was quickly tapped to be a mentor to the novices. Within just a few years this rising star was placed in charge of schools, and she shone in her founding of two New York hospitals. Her brilliance was the cutting edge of healthcare in her time. Her light caught the eye of her Franciscan Sisters, and they elected her their Superior.

The light of stars does not shine on just some small part of the earth, and so when a letter came from a far away island kingdom asking for Sisters to serve the sick, others could only see their own stretched resources in the midst of so many needs in their little corners of the world. But this rising star named Mother Marianne knew instinctively that the best stars lead to journeys of adventure and great discovery. And so this rising star from the East travelled with six Sisters to these tiny dots of land in the vast Pacific Ocean, to Hawaii Nei.

Even here this rising star quickly changed the darkness, neglect, and filth of a warehouse for the rejected into a place of light, dignity, and joy. The eyes of a king and queen sparkled with the light of Mother Marianne, and they noted her brilliance with a star of honor, the Royal Medal of Kapiolani.

Yet this rising star that was Mother Marianne Cope was very well aware of St. John’s admonition to beware of idols.  She knew that her light was a created light whose only purpose was to lead others to the true and uncreated light. She knew that her light was a mere guiding star to the merciful healing brilliance of Christ, and that day by day he would grow greater as she became smaller, ever narrowing her world. Her move from the great expansive State of New York to the little obscure islands of Hawaii, from the capitol city of Honolulu to the dead-end nowhere of Kalaupapa, was symbolic of her light becoming smaller so that Christ could become greater. She was hungry for this work that few others would even consider doing, because she daily had her own hunger satisfied by the living Bread come down from heaven.

Mother Marianne was not just a star that flashed in the heavens long ago, but she has now been fixed as a heavenly light for all time, so that she can continue to shine on Christ wherever he may be found. From her place in heaven she leads us on an exciting pilgrimage to the most unlikely places to encounter Jesus. She knew the story of his being found in a stinking stable, and therefore did not find it odd to find Jesus in a place reeking with the decay of diseased bodies.  She believed the story of his being cruelly confined to a rough-hewn cross, with many wishing that he would just disappear, and therefore found Jesus in those who had been cruelly confined, with the hope that they would soon disappear, on this rough cross of Kalaupapa.  She took part every day in the memorial of Christ’s rising from the dead, and therefore she was able to bring so much life and joy to this place of the living dead.  She, who directed others as their Superior, knew that her greatest joy was in submitting herself to Christ.  Saint Marianne’s light shines on Christ, the all powerful God who has made himself so little for us.  Her brilliant light leads to Him who is the Light of the World, and so this rising star is happily dimmed in the presence of the source of all light.

In these days when we quarantine God so that we will not be contaminated by the contagion of his commandments, we so much need a light that will guide us to break open the frontiers of fear.  At this time when little people are disposable because they are hidden away in the darkness of a womb, we need a star to show us that no matter how difficult life may become in caring for them, no one is disposable.  In these days when we make ourselves ever greater and dim the light of truth, we need a strong star that knows how to be absorbed into the Great Light, to become dimmer in oneself, so that the Light of the World can become even brighter.  We thank God for sending this star to us, for setting her forever in the firmament of heaven, and for making her our living lesson that making ourselves smaller and more obscure brightens the world all the more with the light of Jesus Christ our Lord.  We thank God for Saint Marianne Cope!

New York Catholic Spiritual Family

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I’ve pretty much been praying the same morning offering since my first Holy Communion.

Every once in a while, I’ll make a change or addition to my memorized prayer … and that happened this very day at 6:00 a.m.

When my niece Shannon was diagnosed with cancer a dozen years ago at age nine, I added Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha to the litany of my favorite friends in heaven whom I beseech at the opening of each day, figuring that she, who herself battled a life threatening illness when she, too, was a little girl, would have a special solicitude for Shannon.

Well, today, for the first time in 12 years, I invoked Saint Kateri Tekakwitha!

And, when I was appointed Archbishop of New York over three-and-a-half years ago, I added to that litany each dawn those beatified and canonized who are part of our New York Catholic spiritual family, including Blessed Marianne Cope.  Well, since she, too, got a promotion yesterday, I had the joy of invoking her early this a.m. as Saint Marianne Cope.

It was a thrill to concelebrate the Mass of Canonization Sunday morning in St. Peter’s Square, united with 85,000 believers from all five continents, as Pope Benedict XVI solemnly declared seven new Saints, among them our beloved Kateri and Marianne.

Especially uplifting was to be here with thousands of pilgrims from home, including Native Americans of New York State, celebrating their own Kateri, and parishioners from now St. Kateri Parish in Lagrangeville, led by Monsignor Desmond O’Connor, their pastor, and a big crowd from the Diocese of Syracuse, home of St. Marianne Cope’s Sisters of St. Francis.

Congratulations as well for the beloved Filipino community at home, as their second countryman, Pedro Calungsod, was also canonized yesterday.

It’ll take me a while to get used to these two little changes in my morning prayers … but it is ever worth the effort!

Because part of my daily conversation with Jesus is that even more of the great state I proudly call my earthly home will one day be saints!

So, it’s back to work here in Rome at the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.  I miss you!  See you next Monday!