A relic of St. Marianne for Pope Benedict XVI: Matt's Memo

Sister Grace Ann Dillenschneider with Mother Marianne relic.

We were at St. Anthony's Convent last week doing an interview for our coverage of Mother Marianne Cope's Canonization when we got a first look at a hand carved piece of art that will soon be in the hands of the Pope. Sister Grace Ann Dillenschneider reached into a yellow plastic bag and pulled out a Tao cross. It is the relic that will be carried by one of Mother Marianne's miracles and offered to the Pope at St. Peter's Square. It is smooth to the touch and soon it will be sacred as it holds bone fragments of Saint Marianne.

A Central New York craftsmen named Steven Hale has completed the hand carved relic that will be handed to Pope Benedict the XVI during the Canonization of Mother Marianne Cope on Sunday October, 21st. Each of the seven Blesseds who are being Canonized by the Pope in St. Peter's Square will present some type of artifact representing the work of the person receiving the highest honor bestowed in the Roman Catholic Church.

The relic is the Tao cross which was the symbol of St. Francis decorated with a winding vine of plumeria down the side. The plumeria is a flower native to Germany which is the homeland of Mother Marianne. It was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by a German doctor who was studying people with leprosy in the mid-19th century. Mother Marianne spent half her life in Molokai caring for people with leprosy which is now called Hansen's diseas. A glass circle sitting in the center of the cross will contain bone fragments of Mother Marianne Cope.

At the canonization ceremony, Sharon Smith will present the Holy Father with a first class relic of Mother Marianne. Accompanying her will be Sister Michaeleen Cabral and Dr. Richard Hehir. Sister Cabral first recognized that SharonĂ¢??s miraculous cure was due to intercessory prayers to Mother Marianne. Dr. Hehir, was the first to review all medical information of possible miracles prior to submitting documentation to the Tribunal at the Diocese of Syracuse and then to the Office of the Causes of Saints and Blesseds in Rome. He worked closely with Sister Mary Laurence Hanley who championed the cause of Mother Marianne for 37 years. Sister Hanley died Dec. 2, 2011 saying that her work was done. On Dec. 19, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that Mother Marianne would be canonized a saint.

A pilgrimmage from Hawaii arrives in Syracuse this weekend for special ceremonies. That group will then fly over the Rome in addition to several others who will attend the Canonization mass at the Vatican on Sunday, October 21st.

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