When Sister Marianne Cope left Syracuse to care for lepers in Hawaii in 1883, she fully expected to come back to Central New York.
It was not til January 2005, when her remains were brought to the Franciscan convent chapel on Syracuse's North Side. And now the saint's relics--most of the--will go back to Hawaii.
Sister Roberta Smith, General Minister of the Franciscan Sisters, says part of the canonization process is to ensure that the saint is easily accessible. That's why her remains were exhumed from the remote leper colony on Molokai. But now that the Franciscan Motherhouse will be shut down, she is being returned to Hawaii.
The move will not happen right away: Sister Roberta says that even though members of the Franciscan Community would like it to, bishops in both Syracuse and Hawaii must also approve, and the design for the proposed new reliquary in the cathedral in Honolulu must be submitted, along with the plans, to the Vatican for approval.
Some relics of the Saint will stay in Syracuse, at the new museum that's being created in the old radiology building at St Joseph's Hospital, at Union and North Townsend. A ribbon cutting for the museum was held last week, and the many pictures, letters and artifacts the sisters have gathered documenting the saint's Hawaii years, as well as her career ministering to the sick in Central New York, will be housed there when it's complete.
The sisters expect to move this spring, to a new complex that's more elderly-friendly, off Buckley Road in Liverpool.
The residence is changing, but the nuns will continue to staff health, help and outreach programs in Syracuse and the area.