by Sister Anne Marie Saphara
Sister Anne Marie Saphara recently began a three-month stint in Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii, where she will be assisting Sister Barbara Jean Wajda with patients and visitors and also providing graphic art support to the National Park Service.
This year in Kalaupapa, where our own St. Marianne Cope spend 35 years of her life serving people with leprosy, we celebrated her Jan. 23 feast day the entire weekend. Sisters and guests from Oahu joined us in making the celebration a memorable one, especially since it is the 180th anniversary of Mother Marianne’s birth.
On Friday, we enjoyed a festive dinner at St. Elizabeth convent with much lively conversation throughout the evening. Saturday was spent preparing food, decorating and cleaning for the next day’s celebration.
On Sunday morning, we gathered for a prayer service at Mother Marianne’s gravesite and then processed to St. Francis Church where Father Pat Killilea, SS.CC., pastor, presided at the liturgy. Afterwards, everyone gathered in the community room where we enjoyed delicious hors d’oeurves and sharing in conversation.
In the afternoon, we carpooled to Kalawao, where Mother Marianne assisted St. Damien de Veuster in caring for Hansen’s disease patients. Here, at St. Philomena Church, Sister Barbara Jean Wajda led a prayer service. We visited St. Damien’s grave and took in the beautiful views of Kalawao, and even ran across a few deer and wild pigs running across the road in front of us.
Catholics and non-Catholics throughout the Kalaupapa settlement remain devoted to St. Marianne. We know she looked out for us because even though the weather forecast called for clouds and rain, the day was warm and sunny. Thank you, Mother Marianne.