Using water from the Sanctuary of Our Lady at Lourdes, the Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse today blessed the new Saint Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum.
Bishop Robert J. Cunningham also celebrated Mass at the shrine for some 40 guests, including representatives of Kate Mahoney and Sharon Smith, the women whose recoveries from life-threatening illnesses are miracles attributed to St. Marianne.
The shrine and museum was recently relocated from its original site on the Central New York campus of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. That building has been closed and the museum moved to a building provided by St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center.
“Discussions about connecting the museum to the hospital that St. Marianne helped found and where she served as administrator for over five years began years ago,” said Sister Roberta Smith, general minister, during a program that followed the Mass. She said she and hospital CEO Kathryn Ruscitto had a number of brainstorming sessions about how such a transition could take place. Officials at St. Joseph’s eventually made available an empty building on the hospital’s campus and helped fund its renovation.
“Today, what started as a dream has become a reality and there are many people to thank,” Sister Roberta said. The museum tells the story of Barbara Koob, daughter of German immigrants raised in Utica, N.Y. who was given the name of Sister Marianne when she entered the Sisters of St. Francis. From teacher to hospital administrator to beloved mother of outcasts, caring for patients with Hansen’s disease in Hawaii, Mother Marianne broke new ground in each of her ministries. She was canonized a saint October 21, 2012.
A stained glass window featuring St. Francis of Assisi encountering a man with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and a photo of St. Marianne Cope welcome visitors to the shrine and museum. Exhibits tell Mother Marianne’s story, from her childhood in Utica to her pioneering work in health care in Syracuse to her work with Hansen’s disease patients in Hawaii.
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