Lesser Known Saints

As today is the Fourth of July and Independence Day here in The United States I will be doing some of the Saints from the US today. In this group of Saints we have a portion of the North American Martyrs (Jogues, Goupil and de Lalande); the first American citizen was Mother Cabrini; the first one born in America was Elizabeth Ann Seton; the first male John Neumann followed soon; the first American born citizen was Katherine Drexel; and the most recent was Kateri Tekakwitha, so far the only lay person from the United States who is canonized.  Also included in this list are a number of missionaries Father Damien, Cope, Duchesne and Mother Guerin.

Marianne Cope, O.S.F. (January 23, 1838 – August 9, 1918)
Maria Anna Koob (I guess it changed while they emigrated?) was born in Germany and about a year later she and her family moved to upstate New York. By the time her father had died, he had gained citizenship for the whole family and Maria’s younger siblings could take on the role of supporting the family as she felt called to become a nun. Maria Anna joined the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis where she adopted the new name of Marianne. In the 1870s she had a role in establishing the first two Catholic hospitals in Central NY, and was named Superior General of the first public hospital in Syracuse. She also was instrumental in moving Geneva Medical College to become the medical school at Syracuse. She contracted with the college to accept their students in the treatment of the hospital’s patients, to further their medical education. Her stipulation in the contract—again unique for the period—was the right of the patients to refuse care by the students.

Marianne is perhaps best known for working with the lepers in Moloka’i. In 1883 she responded to the request of the Hawaiian King for help and she and six other sister set off for Hawaii. Marianne would care for Fr. Damien and would eventually be asked to continue his work after he died. Marianne continued to work with the lepers in Kalaupapa until 1895 when she withdrew the sister to Bishop Home for leprous women and girls. Marianne died and was buried at the Bishop Home, when she was canonized she was reinterred in Syracuse and it is expected that she will move one final time back to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Hawaii sometime this year as the Sisters of Saint Francis are closing their motherhouse in Syracuse.

Rose Philippine Duchesne, R.S.C.J. (29 August 1769 – 18 November 1852)
Rose was born in France and had a large well to do family. In 1781 Rose and her cousin were sent off to be educated by the Visitandine nuns at the local monastery. When Rose expressed interest in the monastic life her father took her out and had her tutored at home with her cousins. In 1788 she would join the Visitandine nuns who taught her. During the French Revolution the monasteries were closed and Rose went back to her family where she tried to live the Rule of the Order. After Napoleon came to power she tried to reestablish the order by buying all the buildings but it was tough as they all had gotten older, so Rose became Mother Superior of the Order. At the same time in Northern France Madeleine Barat was forming the Society of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ), sometimes considered a female equivalent to the Jesuits, Barat meets with Rose and they become fast friends. Soon there after Rose merged her community with Barat’s.

In 1817 the Bishop of Louisana and the two Floridas came to Paris to visit the new convent for the RSCJ and Rose felt a call from her youth to go minister to the Native Americans. Rose begged for permission to go and in 1818 Rose and four other Sister were headed for the United States. The went to Missouri and established the first house of the Society outside of France and the first free school west of the Mississippi in St. Charles, Missouri. Although she liked helping the American children she long desired to help the Native Americans so she went to Kansas and established a school for the Potawatomi, she was unable to learn the language and was ordered to come back to St. Charles, where she spent her last ten years.

Mother Théodore Guérin, S.P. (2 October 1798 – 14 May 1856)
Anne-Thérèse Guérin was also born in France near the end of the French Revolution when churches and schools were closed. She was most likely educated by her mother at home and at the age of 10 Therese received her First Communion and she confided to the priest that she wanted to enter a religious community. At 15, her father was killed by bandits and she took the responsibility of caring for her mother and sister, as she grew older she asked her mother and sister if she could join a convent and they both agreed when Anne-Therese was 25. She joined the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé-sur-Loir and was given the name Sister St. Theodore.

In 1839 the Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana was in need of a religious community to come to the Diocese to teach, provide religious instruction, and assist the sick. The superior general of the Sisters of Providence suggested Sister St. Théodore for the task. So in July of 1840, Sister St. Théodore and five other sister went off to Indiana. They arrived in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in October and founded the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and Sister St. Theodore became Mother Theodore. Her greatest accomplishment in Indiana is all the schools she opened and the fact that she grew her order from 10 to 85 in the 15 years she was in Indiana.



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