mother marianne in garden

Take inspiration from the life of St. Marianne

From a daughter of immigrants, to a founder of hospitals, to working among those with Hansen’s disease (leprosy), to worker of miracles and a saint, the life of Marianne Cope (born Barbara Kolb) is an inspiration.

Canonized in 2012, St. Marianne is the first Franciscan woman from North American to be canonized, and only the 11th American saint. She joined the sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, New York in 1862 and ministered as a teacher and then principal in schools for the children of German immigrants. By 1870, she was part of the governing council of her congregation and was instrumental in founding St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica, the first two Catholic hospitals in central New York. She stipulated that the hospitals provide medical care to all, regardless of race or ability to pay. During her hospital work, Mother Marianne as she was then known did much to improve the field of health care.

In 1883, she and six other sisters from Syracuse answered a call from the king of Hawaii to help with those suffering from leprosy, a request already declined by more than 50 other religious congregations. The sisters worked first on Oahu, then went to Molokai before settling later on the remote peninsula of Kalaupapa.

A shrine and museum dedicated to St. Marianne and her legacy is located in Syracuse, New York.