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St. Marianne Cope

St. Marianne CopeSt. Marianne Cope was born in western Germany in 1838. She entered religious life in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1862. She served as a teacher and principal in several schools in the state and established two of the first hospitals in the central New York area: St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse.

In 1883, Mother Marianne’s community was the only one of fifty to respond positively to an emissary from Hawaii who requested Catholic sisters to provide health care on the Hawaiian Islands, especially to those with leprosy.

Over the next five years, St. Marianne set up a system of long-term education and care for her patients.

She ministered to patients at Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai. Her time of service overlapped with the last years of St. Damien of Molokai, a priest who served victims of Hansen’s disease and himself died of leprosy.

St. Marianne promised her sisters that none of them would ever contract the disease. To this day, no sister has. Her care earned her the affectionate title “beloved mother of the outcasts.”

She died in 1918 and was beatified on May 14, 2005 and canonized on October 21, 2012, both by Pope Benedict XVI.

"At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm," Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily during the Mass for her canonization. "She is a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved Saint Francis."

St. Ildephonsus

St. Ildephonsus

St. Ildephonsus was the Archbishop of Toledo, and died 23 January, 667. He was born of a distinguished family and was the nephew of St. Eugenius, his predecessor in the See of Toledo. At an early age, despite the determined opposition of his father, he embraced the monastic life in the monastery of Agli, near Toledo. He was ordained a deacon, around the year 630. He was called by King Reccesvinth, near the end of 657 to fill the archiepiscopal throne of Toledo, where he governed the Church of Toledo for just over nine years and was buried in the Basilica of Saint Leocadia.

Ildephonsus had a strong devotion to the Blessd Mother, and it is said that  one day he was praying before the relics of Saint Leocadia, when the martyr arose from her tomb and thanked the saint for the devotion he showed towards the Mother of God. It was also related that on another occasion the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in person and presented him with a priestly vestment, to reward him for his zeal in honoring her.

The literary work of Ildephonsus is more widely known than the details of his life, and merits for him a distinguished place in the role of Spanish writers.