Tuesday, January 23, 2018

#BreakingNews 10 Catholic Priests and 2 Nuns Arrested - with 6 Killed by Police in DR Congo

AFRICA/DR CONGO - Violent repression of demonstrations: at least 6 dead, a dozen priests kidnapped

Monday, 22 January 2018
Fides Report: Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - At least 10 priests and two nuns were kidnapped by the police in the clashes which occurred yesterday, Sunday, January 21, in several cities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, due to the violent repression of a new protest initiative promoted by Catholic laity.
"We are aware of the fact that ten priests were arrested, including Fr. Dieudonné Mukinayi, of the parish of Saint Christophe de Binza Ozone. He was kidnapped along with eight parishioners", said Georges Kapiamba, President of the Association Congolaise pour l'Accès à la Justice (ACAJ), according to which two religious sisters have also been kidnapped.
"The arrested priests could even be 12 in addition to the two nuns", sources from the Congolese Church told Agenzia Fides. "Unlike December 31, this time the protests affected many cities throughout the DRC" say our sources.
"In the capital, Kinshasa, from where it was launched, the call for demonstration was accepted in all the municipalities. In Goma (the capital of North Kivu), where on 31 December the call for demonstration had not been re-launched at a local level, this time instead a demonstration took place after Mass in the cathedral, which was repressed by the police. In the capital of South Kivu, Bukavu, the police stopped the protest by preventing people from gathering. In Mbuji-Mayi, capital of Eastern Kasai, churches had been surrounded by the military since the early morning. The local Bishop had to publish a statement to ask priests to have the courage to carry out religious services. But in the cathedral of Mbuji-Mayi the military interrupted the Mass, preventing the consecration of the Eucharist" say Fides sources.
"5 people have died so far, but the number could be higher, maybe 6 or 7. Among these there is the daughter of a police officer who died simply to protect some girls when the military started shooting in the parish of Saint Kizito in Kinshasa".
The provisional toll of the repression presented by MONUSCO (UN Mission in the DRC) is 6 dead, 57 injured and more than 100 people arrested.
Yesterday's demonstration was also called by the Catholic laity to exert pressure on President Joseph Kabila to respect the New Year's Eve Agreements of December 31, 2016 and above all to obtain from him the solemn commitment not to run as a candidate at the December 23, 2018 elections.
Yesterday Pope Francis launched an appeal "asking the authorities, the leaders and everyone in this beloved Country, to avoid all forms of violence and seek solutions for the common good. All together, in silence, we pray for this intention, for our brothers in the Democratic Republic of Congo", the Holy Father said after the Angelus. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/1/2018)
Image source; http://www.mediamaxnetwork.co.ke

2nd Report: 

AFRICA/DR CONGO - "Protests led by the Catholic laity will continue"; the Nunciature: "fatal bullets fired against demonstrators"

Tuesday, 23 January 2018 
 Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "The government is trying to put the blame on the organizers regarding the violent protest march held on Sunday", report Church sources of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Agenzia Fides, where on Sunday 21st January in several cities of the country law enforcement officers fired teargas to disperse demonstrations organized by the Lay Coordination Committee of the DRC against the continued rule of President Joseph Kabila. The protest was the latest in a series since Kabila refused to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016. Despite the repression, the Catholic laity will not surrender, because as reported by Fides sources "they want to organize other demonstrations". "This is because - explain the sources - we now have the distinct impression that those in power do not want to leave. Demonstrations therefore remain the only form of protest, albeit weak, to put pressure and hope that something changes within the presidential regime".
"Nothing is known about the ten priests arrested on Sunday, January 21" our sources say. "We only know that one of the arrested priests has been accused of attempted aggression by a minister because in order to escape the firing of tear gas by the police, the priest along with other people, took refuge in a house, which belongs to the minister in question. The minister then accused the priest and the people who were trying to attack him, but it is a false version".
"In conclusion, the Catholic laity led the protest against Kabila. Several parish priests joined the protest initiatives. It is important to reiterate that the initiatives were taken by the laity and not by CENCO (National Episcopal Conference of the Congo) or by individual Bishops", the sources conclude.
In a "Technical Note", the Apostolic Nunciature in Kinshasa confirms that the police fired real, potentially fatal bullets against demonstrators in the capital Kinshasa, and in the cities of Kisangani (north-east), Goma and Bukavu (North and South Kivu, in the east), Lubumbashi (south-east) and Mbuji-Mayi (center). In the note titled "Parishes disturbed by the police" the police are accused of having surrounded the churches and of firing tear gas and real bullets.
According to the Note of the Nunciature "at least one priest was wounded and at least three others were arrested in Kinshasa". Among the victims was a woman who had wanted to become a nun (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 23/1/2018) 

Pope Francis "We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions..." at #Economic Forum - FULL TEXT at Vatican

[23-26 JANUARY 2018]

To Professor Klaus Schwab
Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum
I am grateful for your invitation to participate in the World Economic Forum 2018 and for your desire to include the perspective of the Catholic Church and the Holy See at the meeting in Davos. I thank you also for your efforts to bring this perspective to the attention of those gathered for this annual Forum, including the distinguished political and governmental authorities present and all those engaged in the fields of business, the economy, work and culture, as they discuss the challenges, concerns, hopes and prospects of the world today and of the future.
The theme chosen for this year’s Forum – Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World – is very timely. I trust that it will assist in guiding your deliberations as you seek better foundations for building inclusive, just and supportive societies, capable of restoring dignity to those who live with great uncertainty and who are unable to dream of a better world.
At the level of global governance, we are increasingly aware that there is a growing fragmentation between States and Institutions. New actors are emerging, as well as new economic competition and regional trade agreements. Even the most recent technologies are transforming economic models and the globalized world itself, which, conditioned by private interests and an ambition for profit at all costs, seem to favour further fragmentation and individualism, rather than to facilitate approaches that are more inclusive.
The recurring financial instabilities have brought new problems and serious challenges that governments must confront, such as the growth of unemployment, the increase in various forms of poverty, the widening of the socio-economic gap and new forms of slavery, often rooted in situations of conflict, migration and various social problems. “Together with this, we encounter certain rather selfish lifestyles, marked by an opulence which is no longer sustainable and frequently indifferent to the world around us, and especially to the poorest of the poor. To our dismay we see technical and economic questions dominating political debate, to the detriment of genuine concern for human beings. Men and women risk being reduced to mere cogs in a machine that treats them as items of consumption to be exploited, with the result that – as is so tragically apparent – whenever a human life no longer proves useful for that machine, it is discarded with few qualms” (Address to the European Parliament, Strasbourg, 25 November 2014).
In this context, it is vital to safeguard the dignity of the human person, in particular by offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development and by implementing economic policies that favour the family. “Economic freedom must not prevail over the practical freedom of man and over his rights, and the market must not be absolute, but honour the exigencies of justice” (Address to the General Confederation of Italian Industry, 27 February 2016). Economic models, therefore, are also required to observe an ethic of sustainable and integral development, based on values that place the human person and his or her rights at the centre.
“Before the many barriers of injustice, of loneliness, of distrust and of suspicion which are still being elaborated in our day, the world of labour is called upon to take courageous steps in order that ‘being and working together’ is not merely a slogan but a programme for the present and the future” (Ibid.). Only through a firm resolve shared by all economic actors may we hope to give a new direction to the destiny of our world. So too artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological innovations must be so employed that they contribute to the service of humanity and to the protection of our common home, rather than to the contrary, as some assessments unfortunately foresee.
We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people whose dignity is wounded, nor can we continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice had no cause. It is a moral imperative, a responsibility that involves everyone, to create the right conditions to allow each person to live in a dignified manner. By rejecting a “throwaway” culture and a mentality of indifference, the entrepreneurial world has enormous potential to effect substantial change by increasing the quality of productivity, creating new jobs, respecting labour laws, fighting against public and private corruption and promoting social justice, together with the fair and equitable sharing of profits.
There is a grave responsibility to exercise wise discernment, for the decisions made will be decisive for shaping the world of tomorrow and that of future generations. Thus, if we want a more secure future, one that encourages the prosperity of all, then it is necessary to keep the compass continually oriented towards “true North”, represented by authentic values. Now is the time to take courageous and bold steps for our beloved planet. This is the right moment to put into action our responsibility to contribute to the development of humanity.
I hope, therefore, that this 2018 meeting of the World Economic Forum will allow an open, free, and respectful exchange, and be inspired above all else by the desire to advance the common good.
In renewing my best wishes for the success of the meeting, I willingly invoke upon you and all participating in the Forum the divine blessings of wisdom and strength.
From the Vatican, 12 January 2018

Text Source: Vatican.va

#BreakingNews 40,000 at March for Life in Paris, France - Many #ProLife Youth Join

Large turn-out in Paris, France for Pro-Life annual March for Life with 40,000 participants! Hundreds of Thousands marched in the USA against abortion a few days ago with the   US Vice President Mike Pence saying: "America will choose life again!" Donald Trump wants to help doctors refuse abortions. Paul Ryan also gave a speech at the largest pro-life march in the world. Currently, Poland prohibits killing of disabled children; while in France media have almost completely denied the coverage of this major event. Report indicate a large group of about 40,000 people participated, many of them young people. The spokesman for the march, Victoire de Gubernatis, is only 25 years old. Among the participants were priests, nuns and bishops, who thus expressed the support of the Catholic Church for the March pour la vie. On March 4; people are invited to participate in a Run for Life, in Paris, which is especially dedicated to those with Down Syndrome. "We are a creative minority and we preach in the desert," said Bishop Marc Aillet, who compared the life-guards with John the Baptist. The March for Life was counter protested by a dozen Femen demonstrators.

#BreakingNews continuing Mortar Fire Kills another Christian in Damascus - RIP Rita age 17

Nuncio in Damascus: mortar fire against the old city still causing victims among Christians

Some rockets fired from the enclave of Goutha killed at least eight people and wounded twenty. The dead include a 17-year-old girl and a child of three. For Card Zenari, the road to peace is still "very long"; in some areas of the country "disturbing chapters" have opened up. In the capital, the situation is "increasingly critical".

Damascus (AsiaNews) - The Syrian conflict "is still underway" and the "road" to a "stable and lasting" peace is still "very long". In some areas of the country, "violence has diminished" and the situation "seems calmer", but in others "disturbing chapters have opened up," said Card Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Damascus, as he commented on the violence that has hit certain sectors of the Syrian capital in recent hours, causing "victims and serious injuries" even among Christians.
Yesterday in Damascus mortar fire from the rebel enclave of Goutha, on the eastern outskirts of the capital, hit the old city and some Christian neighbourhoods including Bab Touma and al-Shaghour, causing at least eight deaths in the Christian community.
The dead include a 17-year-old girl named Rita (pictured), two other teenagers and a three-year-old child. To these must be added more than 20 wounded, but the count could rise in the next few hours.
Rockets also landed on several buildings and places of worship, causing more damage to some churches already hit in the last few weeks.
According to some estimates, six years of bombings and shelling in the capital have killed about 7,000 people and wounded at least 21,000 more.
"Yesterday I was by chance passing by the French hospital in the afternoon, at around 4 pm,” Card Zenari told AsiaNews, “when I saw various wounded people, so much blood everywhere that it was upsetting, the wounded taken from the old city of Damascus that had come under mortar fire.”
“The rocket fire started around 2 pm and caused a lot of damage. At least 20, if not 30 wounded. There is still no official tally. And there are also countless deaths. Some students who left the Christian schools" are among the people affected by the mortar fires, the apostolic nuncio noted.
According to the cardinal, the situation in Damascus has become increasingly "critical" in recent weeks as a result of "the shelling and rockets". In the past, the capital could be considered "quieter", but in the last while "rocket fire has increased" affecting people and places of worship.
"There was mortar fire in the past, but they were minor episodes,’ Card Zenari added. “But now the conflict has flared up again," and is affecting the capital’s Christian community.
"It is hard to understand if they are targeting Christians in particular or if they are randomly firing rockets. It is difficult to figure this out and so we must not draw hasty conclusions."
For the prelate, the most plausible interpretation "is that the acts of violence of this terrible conflict are still ongoing and that the road to achieving a lasting stable peace is still very long".
"In some areas of the country it seems to be decreasing, whilst elsewhere (see the Turkish offensive in Afrin) other disturbing chapters are being opened. We hoped the war was ending, but today it seems that the road to that is still long.” (DS)
Text Source: Asia News IT

Saint January 23 : St. Ildephonsus : #Archbishop of Toledo, Doctor of the #Spanish Church

Feast Day:
January 23
607 at Toledo, Spain
January 23, 667
Archbishop of Toledo; died 23 January, 667. He was born of a distinguished family and was a 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. While he was still a simple monk, he founded and endowed a monastery of nuns in Deibiensi villula. We learn from his writings that he was ordained a deacon (about 630) by Helladius, who had been his abbot and was afterwards elected Archbishop of Toledo. Ildephonsus himself became Abbot of Agli, and in this capacity was one of the signatories, in 653 and 655, at the Eighth and Ninth Councils of Toledo. Called by King Reccesvinth, towards the end of 657, to fill the archiepiscopal throne, he governed the Church of Toledo for a little more than nine years and was buried in the Basilica of Saint Leocadia. To these scanty but authentic details of his life (they are attested by Ildephonsus himself, or by his immediate successor, Archbishop Julianus, in a short biographical notice which he added to the "De viris illustribus" of Ildephonsus) some doubtful or even legendary anecdotes were added later. At the end of the eighth century Cixila, Archbishop of Toledo, embellished the biography of his predecessor. He relates that Ildephonsus was the disciple of Isidore of Seville, and recalls in particular two marvellous stories, of which the second, a favourite theme of hagiographers, poets, and artists, has been for ages entwined with the memory of the saint. Ildephonsus, it is said, was one day 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 related, further, 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 honouring her.

The literary work of Ildephonsus is better known than the details of his life, and merits for him a distinguished place in the roll of Spanish writers. His successor, Julianus of Toledo, in the notice already referred to, informs us that the saint himself divided his works into four parts. The first and principal division contained six treatises, of which two only have been preserved: "De virginitate perpetuâ sanctae Mariae adversus tres infideles" (these three unbelievers are Jovinianus, Helvidius, and "a Jew"), a bombastic work which displays however a spirit of ardent piety, and assures Ildephonsus a place of honour among the devoted servants of the Blessed Virgin; also a treatise in two books: (1) "Annotationes de cognitione baptismi", and (2) "Liber de itinere deserti, quo itur post baptismum". Recent researches have proved that the first book is only a new edition of a very important treatise compiled, at the latest, in the sixth century, Ildephonsus having contributed to it only a few additions (Helfferich, "Der westgothische Arianismus", 1860, 41-49). The second part of his works contained the saint's correspondence; of this portion, there are still preserved two letters of Quiricus, Bishop of Barcelona, with the replies of Ildephonsus. The third part comprised masses, hymns, and sermons; and the fourth, opuscula in prose and verse, especially epitaphs. The editions of the complete works of Ildephonsus contain a certain number of writings, several of which may be placed in either of the last two divisions; but some of them are of doubtful authenticity, while the remainder are certainly the work of another author. Moreover, Julianus states that Ildephonsus began a good number of other works, but his many cares would not permit of his finishing them. On the other hand, he makes no mention of a little work which is certainly authentic, the "De viris illustribus". It may be considered as a supplement to the "De viris illustribus" of Isidore of Seville, and is not so much a literary historical work as a writing intended to glorify the Church of Toledo and defend the rights of the metropolitan see.
Text: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. January 23, 2018 - #Eucharist

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 318

Reading 12 SM 6:12B-15, 17-19

David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom
into the City of David amid festivities.
As soon as the bearers of the ark of the LORD had advanced six steps,
he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
Then David, girt with a linen apron,
came dancing before the LORD with abandon,
as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD
with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.
The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place
within the tent David had pitched for it.
Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
When he finished making these offerings,
he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
He then distributed among all the people,
to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel,
a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake.
With this, all the people left for their homes.

Responsorial PsalmPS 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R. (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Alleluia SEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 3:31-35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
"Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you."
But he said to them in reply,
"Who are my mother and my brothers?"
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother."

#BreakingNews Hindu radicals burn Christian Church and shops in India - Please Pray

Hindu radicals burn Christian church and shops in Jammu and Kashmir

Nirmala Carvalho

The Sehal Christ Church attacked on January 16. Hindu fanatics wanted to "avenge" the alleged murder of a woman "forcibly converted ". Sajan K George: "In the Indian state, Christians are between the anvil and the hammer of nationalists and Muslims".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A crowd of 300 Hindu radicals assaulted and burned a Pentecostal church and several Christian-owned shops in Jammu and Kashmir. It was reportedly a "revenge" attack for the alleged murder of a woman by her husband.
The lady, who converted from Hinduism two years ago, died of complications of a disease contracted years earlier. But the family, which had never accepted her conversion to Christianity, spread rumours of murder and forced conversion, which triggered the violent reaction of the extremists.
Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), tells AsiaNews that in the Indian state "Pentecostal Christians suffer the worst persecution. They are accused of forced conversions, and instead people attend prayer meetings and embrace the Lord as their Savior who frees them ".
The Christian leader explains that in Jammu and Kashmir "the tiny Christian minority is held between the anvil and the hammer. From 2014 the territory is governed by a coalition between BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party, Hindu nationalist party - ed] and the Peoples' Democratic Party. Christians are persecuted by both: on the one hand, radicals on the extreme right; on the other, Muslim extremists ".
The assault on the Sehal Christ Church, affiliated to the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, and located in a village near Nowshera, took place on January 16. The Hindus of the Bajran Dal [youth faction associated with the BJP, ed] a group of 300 assailants broke into the church and interrupted the prayer. The faithful present were beaten up and at least 12 were seriously injured. Two police officers arrived on the scene to quell the violence, but the crowd then moved on to nearby Christian shops, damaging property for thousands of rupees.
The Hindus were incited by the alleged murder of Seema Devi, wife of Rinkhu Kumar, who also converted to Christianity. The two were married two years ago and shortly after the wedding the woman’s health problems emerged, which at the time had been treated in hospital. Recently, the new worsening of the illness had prompted Rinkhu to take his wife to Jalandhar, to the church where they had married, to pray for her recovery. On  January 11, the woman's condition seemed to improve, until the sudden death occurred on the 15th.
After hearing the news of her daughter's death, the family released the news that Seema had been forcibly converted. One uncle declared "that she would never agree to voluntarily renounce his Hindu faith".
What most shocked the local Christian community is that after the church attack, the body of Seema was burnt on a pyre, as the Hindu funeral tradition wants. Meanwhile, Christians fled to the forest to escape aggression. At least seven of them have been arrested, including Rinkhu. On the contrary, none of the Hindu assailants have been apprehended.
Now local witnesses warn that Christians present on January 16 during the prayer are forced to return to the Hindu religion, under penalty of persecution. Furthermore, the local pastor is untraceable. Sajan K George denounces the climate of violence and states that "the Pentecostals find peace, inclusion and equality in the gatherings of adoration, which leads them in a voluntary way to embrace Jesus and the Church. Hindu fanatics are opposed to all this. In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the GCIC prays for the Pentecostal Churches to be accepted like the main Churches as evangelizers of Jesus and of the Gospel".
AsiaNews IT Report

Saint January 23 : St. John the Almsgiver : Patriarch of Alexandria : Patron of Knights Hospitaller

Feast Day:
January 23
550 at Arnathus, Cyprus
616 at Arnathus, Cyprus
Patron of:
Knights Hospitaller
Patriarch of Alexandria (606-16), b. at Amathus in Cyprus about 550; d. there, 616. He was the son of one Epiphanius, governor of Cyprus, and was of noble descent; in early life he was married and had children, but they and his wife soon died, whereupon he entered the religious life.

On the death of the Patriarch Theodorus, the Alexandrians besought Emperor Phocas to appoint John his successor, which was accordingly done. In his youth John had had a vision of a beautiful maiden with a garland of olives on her head, who said that she was Compassion, the eldest daughter of the Great King. This had evidently made a deep impression on John's mind, and, now that he had the opportunity of exercising benevolence on a large scale, he soon became widely known all over the East for his munificent liberality towards the poor. One of the first steps he took was to make a list of several thousand needy persons, whom he took under his especial care. He always referred to the poor as his "lords and masters", because of their mighty influence at the Court of the Most High. He assisted people of every class who were in need. A shipwrecked merchant was thus helped three times, on the first two occasions apparently without doing him much good; the third time however, John fitted him out with a ship and a cargo of wheat, and by favourable winds he was taken as far as Britain, where, as there was a shortage of wheat, he obtained his own price. Another person, who was not really in need, applied for alms and was detected by the officers of the palace; but John merely said "Give unto him; he may be Our Lord in disguise." He visited the hospitals three times every week, and he freed a great many slaves. He was a reformer who attacked simony, and fought heresy by means of improvements in religious education. He also reorganized the system of weights and measures for the sake of the poor, and put a stop to corruption among the officials. He increased the number of churches in Alexandria from seven to seventy.

John is said to have devoted the entire revenues of his see to the  alleviation of those in need. A rich man presented him with a magnificent bed covering; he accepted it for one night, but then sold it, and disposed of the money in alms. The rich man "bought in" the article, and again presented it to John, with the same result. This was repeated several times; but John drily remarked: "We will see who tires first." It was not John. Another instance of his piety was that he caused his own grave to be dug, but only partly so, and appointed a servant to come before him on all state occasions and say "My Lord, your tomb is unfinished; pray give orders for its completion, for you know not the hour when death may seize you." When the Persians sacked Jerusalem in 614, John sent large supplies of food, wine, and money to the fleeing Christians. But eventually the Persians occupied Alexandria, and John himself in his old age was forced to flee to his native country, where he died.

His body was brought to Constantinople, thence to Ofen by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary; thence in 1530 to Toll near Presburg, and finally in 1632 to Presburg cathedral. He was the original patron saint of the Hospitallers, and was commemorated by the Greeks on 12 Nov. His life, written by Leontius of Neapolis, in Cyprus, was translated into Latin by Anastasius the Librarian in the ninth century and was referred to at the Seventh General Council.
SOURCE:The Catholic Encyclopedia

Monday, January 22, 2018

Saint January 23 : St. Marianne Cope of #Molokai in Hawaii - Born in Germany

Though leprosy scared off most people in 19th-century Hawaii, that disease sparked great generosity in the woman who came to be known as Mother Marianne of Molokai. Her courage helped tremendously to improve the lives of its victims in Hawaii, a territory annexed to the United States during her lifetime (1898).
Mother Marianne’s generosity and courage were celebrated at her May 14, 2005, beatification in Rome. She was a woman who spoke “the language of truth and love” to the world, said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Cardinal Martins, who presided at the beatification Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, called her life “a wonderful work of divine grace.” Speaking of her special love for persons suffering from leprosy, he said, “She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother.”
On January 23, 1838, a daughter was born to Peter and Barbara Cope of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. The girl was named after her mother. Two years later the Cope family emigrated to the United States and settled in Utica, New York. Young Barbara worked in a factory until August 1862, when she went to the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York. After profession in November of the next year, she began teaching at Assumption parish school.
Marianne held the post of superior in several places and was twice the novice mistress of her congregation. A natural leader, three different times she was superior of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where she learned much that would be useful during her years in Hawaii.
Elected provincial in 1877, Mother Marianne was unanimously re-elected in 1881. Two years later the Hawaiian government was searching for someone to run the Kakaako Receiving Station for people suspected of having leprosy. More than 50 religious communities in the United States and Canada were asked. When the request was put to the Syracuse sisters, 35 of them volunteered immediately. On October 22, 1883, Mother Marianne and six other sisters left for Hawaii where they took charge of the Kakaako Receiving Station outside Honolulu; on the island of Maui they also opened a hospital and a school for girls.
In 1888, Mother Marianne and two sisters went to Molokai to open a home for “unprotected women and girls” there. The Hawaiian government was quite hesitant to send women for this difficult assignment; they need not have worried about Mother Marianne! On Molokai she took charge of the home that St. Damien de Veuster [May 10, d. 1889] had established for men and boys. Mother Marianne changed life on Molokai by introducing cleanliness, pride and fun to the colony. Bright scarves and pretty dresses for the women were part of her approach.
Awarded the Royal Order of Kapiolani by the Hawaiian government and celebrated in a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mother Marianne continued her work faithfully. Her sisters have attracted vocations among the Hawaiian people and still work on Molokai.
Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918 and was beatified in 2005 and canonized seven years later.
Shared from AmericanCatholic