Central New York Catholics are just two days away from celebrating the canonization of Mother Marianne Cope. Our Matt Mulcahy is in Rome covering the event. Here is the story of Mother Marianneâ??s first miracle that put her on the path to sainthood.
Kate Mahoney was a 14 year old high school student in 1992 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The treatment made her so sick, she spent weeks in a coma with virtually no chance to survive. Then, the prayers of intercession began to Mother Marianne.
Kate Mahoney says, â?? I think she was a guiding force in my recovery, clearly from the history books we know she is the personification of faith and medical expertise and so, that's my journey. It was nothing but devotion and using the hands of people who were specialists who helped me get back to where I could beâ??.
Kate's mother Mary recounts details of those trying times, but also the prayers that were said around the world in the name of Mother Marianne. Kateâ??s father John is clear in his belief of the cause of Kateâ??s recovery. He says nothing could be verified medically. â??There was some other reason which we took to mean divine intervention.â??
Kate remembers the Sisters at the Motherhouse would take the information and wherever it happened to be that day, share it with people. â??The same thing was happening at Bishop Ludden, where I was enrolled. The same thing was happening in Washington. The same thing was happening in Ireland. There was this tremendous international prayer chain. Word was getting around that Mother Marianne was the person my parents had this devotion too
Kateâ??s full recovery took years. She lost several months of memory while recovering from a coma.
Kate Mahoney says â??I remember Sister Mary Lawrence coming in with this, which is actually a relic of Mother Marianne and I didn't identify it at the time. She came into the room placed it on my forehead. Kate says she came back and I said "what happened" She said oh that's a relic from Mother Marianne. This case, your recovery, is a miracle. I was sort of like I think I've been gone for a while, what happened, you know smiles.
Kate's father John's own illness kept the family from making the trip to the Vatican for the Canonization, but the intercession of Mother Marianne will be remembered, especially by the Sisters of St Francis who prayed for Kate's recovery twenty years ago.
Sharon Smithâ??s is the second story. Sharon had survived breast cancer and a kidney transplant before the anti- rejection drugs made her terribly sick. She passed out at home. Tubes and surgery kept her going, but did not cure her. A sister of St. Francis pinned soil from Mother Marianneâ??s grave to Sharonâ??s hospital gown. The intercessory prayers began. After nine months she began to recover, one tube at a time came out.
Sharon says, â??I remember the last tube he took out was my feeding tube. And I said I must really be gone now because if you don't feed me, I'm gonna be gone. And he said "No, you healed yourself. Order a sandwich. And I said, Are you kiddin'â??
Ultimately, the Vatican would validate what Sharonâ??s doctor already understood.
â??He said something higher up healed me. It wasn't him. He had said I've done all I can do surgery wise. He said something higher up healed me. And he's Catholicâ??.
Sharon now volunteers at Francis house in Syracuse, a home for the terminally ill. She says she's continues to live a quiet humble life.
â??I've always believed in God. I've believed in heaven and miracles. I just don't believe I'd have one. I'm a little more spiritual. And I believe I'm more thankful to the Lord then I was in my early years.â??
Sharon Smith is part of the group traveling with the Sisters of St. Francis to the Vatican. It was her miraculous cure that opened the door for the Congregation of Saints and then Pope Benedict to affirm Mother Marianne for sainthood.
Matt Mulcahy's coverage of the canonization of Mother Marianne continues all this week as he reports from Rome and the Vatican. Itâ??s all building toward the canonization of Mother Marianne on Sunday in St. Peter's Square.