By Renée K. Gadoua / The Post-Standard
The former leader of Syracuse’s Franciscan sisters is just one step from being named a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.
A group of cardinals and bishops confirmed today a Vatican medical board’s finding that there is no medical explanation for a second miracle attributed to Blessed Mother Marianne Cope, known for her work with patients with leprosy in Hawaii.
With the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, Mother Marianne would become a saint, considered the church’s spiritual role models.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes for Saints confirmed the unanimous ruling of the medical board that a medical miracle occurred as the result of prayers seeking the intercession of Mother Marianne on the patient’s behalf.
The case involves the healing of a woman who was ill with a fatal health condition. The diocese has not revealed the woman’s name or other details of her case, but may later, local church officials have said.
In 2004, Vatican officials ruled that a miraculous recovery involving a 14-year-old Syracuse girl in 1993 was the result of Mother Marianne’s intercession. The girl, Kate Mahoney, nearly died from complications after cancer surgery at Crouse Hospital.
Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, a Franciscan nun, visited Mahoney in the hospital and prayed to Mother Marianne to intercede with God on her behalf. Others also prayed for her to Mother Marianne.
The Sisters of St. Francis have a shrine to Mother Marianne at their residence on Court Street in Syracuse.
Mother Marianne was born in Germany. Her family immigrated to the United States and settled in Utica.
She joined the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse in 1862. She helped established St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica in 1866 and St. Joseph’s hospital in Syracuse in 1869.
In 1883, she led a contingent of nurses to Hawaii to care for lepers. In 1888, she moved to the Hawaiian island of Molokai to work in a settlement for patients with leprosy.
She died in 1918. In 2005, as part of the process for her canonization, her remains were exhumed from Kalaupapa, the isolated Hawaiian area where she ministered.