St. Marianne Cope’s remains, currently enshrined in the St. Anthony Convent Chapel on Court Street in Syracuse, will be moving to Honolulu’s Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities announced
St. Marianne was a Franciscan nun who lived in and ministered throughout Central New York before moving to Hawaii in 1883 to care for patients with Hansen’s disease (leprosy). She died on the island of Molokai in 1918. Her remains were moved to Syracuse in 2005 as her cause for canonization unfolded. She was canonized in 2012.
“When her remains were moved to Syracuse during the canonization process, it made sense to bring her home to the center of the community of sisters,” General Minister Sister Roberta Smith, OSF, said in a prepared statement. “It allowed Mother Marianne to be reintroduced, if you will, to the people of this region. Now with the move from this Court Street campus, it again makes sense to return her to her final resting place alongside St. Damien.”
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace is in the process of renovations and a reliquary chapel will be built to house the relics of Ss. Marianne and Damien de Veuster, who also ministered to patients with Hansen’s disease on the islands. No date has been set for the move.
The announcement of the move came as the sisters prepare to make a move of their own — from St. Anthony and Jolenta Convents to Franciscan Villa, a new residence being constructed on Buckley Road in Salina.
The sisters say the current residences are aging and no longer meet their needs.
“The estimated cost to ensure the structural integrity of these buildings alone would exceed $12 million. This does not include the cost-prohibitive amounts required to bring the buildings up to current senior residence standards,” Sister Roberta said in her statement. Seventy-five sisters currently live in the convents.
The sisters partnered with senior housing company Hearth Management Group in 2012 to build the new residence; they anticipate moving there in the summer of 2014.
Sister Roberta said the order will put its entire Court Street campus up for sale in advance of the move to the new residence. Though there has been some interest in the property, there is currently no buyer, Sister Roberta said.
The campus houses the chapel and the St. Marianne Cope Museum, the convents, the congregational offices and several related ministries. According to materials provided by the sisters, ministries on the campus have been informed of the decision to sell the property and that when the sale occurs, “it may be necessary for the organizations, as well as the congregational administrative offices, to relocate to another place.”
A first-class relic of St. Marianne and her original reliquary will remain in Syracuse at a new shrine and museum to be created on the campus of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. St. Marianne helped to found the hospital in 1869.
Kristin Barrett-Anderson, operations supervisor at the shrine and museum, said a building at the corner of Union Ave. and North Townsend St. formerly used by the hospital for radiotherapy will be renovated to house the museum, archives, gift shop and offices. A press conference to discuss those plans will be held on Jan. 23, St. Marianne’s feast day.