Relics of Hawaiian Missionaries to Visit Seminary, Bible Summit and Cathedral


First-class relics of two saints will visit the Archdiocese of New York from the Diocese of Honolulu Friday to Sunday, Sept. 27-29.

The relics are bone fragments of two 19th century saints: St. Damien de Veuster and St. Marianne Cope, both of whom served and died in Hawaii.

The faithful of the archdiocese will have the opportunity to venerate the relics at the following venues: St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, on Friday, Sept. 27, from 5 to 9 p.m.; attendees of the New York Catholic Bible Summit at Cathedral High School, Manhattan, on Saturday, Sept. 28, and after the 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sept. 28 until 8:45 p.m. On Sunday, Sept. 29, the relics will be at the cathedral from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., including at the 10:15 a.m. Mass. After that Mass, they will be placed in the Lady Chapel behind the cathedral’s main altar for veneration until evening.

St. Jozef Damien, SS.CC., born in Belgium in 1840, began his novitiate with the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1859 and took the name Damien. He prayed every day before a picture of St. Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries, to be sent on a mission. In 1863, his brother, who was to leave for a mission in the Hawaiian Islands, fell ill. Damien then obtained permission from the superior general to take his brother’s place. He landed in Honolulu in March 1864 and was ordained to the priesthood the following May. In spite of the risk of contracting leprosy, then thought to be an incurable disease, Father Damien stayed in Molokai for 16 years, ministering to those afflicted with the disease. Having contracted leprosy himself, he died in April 1889. He was canonized in 2009.

St. Marianne Cope, O.S.F., was born Barbara Koob in West Germany in 1838. The year after her birth, her family moved to the United States. Called to religious life at an early age, she entered the Sisters of St Francis in Syracuse when she was 24. She later received the name Sister Marianne. She served as a teacher and principal in several elementary schools in New York State. In 1870, she began a new ministry as a nurse-administrator in Syracuse. In 1883, after receiving a letter from a Catholic priest asking for help in managing hospitals and schools in the Hawaiian Islands, and mainly to work with leprosy patients, Mother Marianne, as the provincial mother in Syracuse, traveled with six other religious sisters to Honolulu. By 1885, they had made major improvements to the living conditions and treatment of patients. She died in Hawaii in 1918 of natural causes. She was canonized in 2012.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, the religious community of St. Marianne, has members who serve in the Archdiocese of New York.