By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
10/21/2012 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
American health care pioneer Mother Marianne Cope was canonized this past weekend. Mother Marianne, renowned for her work with Hansen's disease, is one of only 10 Americans thus far to have achieved sainthood.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In the late 19th Century in Hawaii, people afflicted with Hansen's disease - more popularly known as leprosy then - were banished to live in leper colonies separated from their families and friends.
Banished to the remote island of Molokai, they remained at this leper colony for the rest of their lives. Children of lepers became orphans.
When an island priest sent out word to 50 religious organizations, all others were too fearful save for Mother Marianne who gladly responded. Before journeying to the leper colonies, she radically changed medical practices on the mainland.
Mother Marianne opened and operated some of the first general hospitals in the United States, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica, New York, in 1866 and St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York, in 1869. Both remain in operation today.
Prior to the inroads made by the Mother Marianne, hospitals in the U.S. had an unsavory reputation. Many were staffed with unknowledgeable people and were filthy. Many went to hospitals to die. Mother Marianne began to change all that by instituting cleanliness standards. The simple act of hand-washing between patient visits cut the spread of disease significantly.
"She was a wonderful hospital administrator and really started the patients' rights movement and truly changed how people cared for the sick," Sister Patricia Burkard says, who until recently held the same office Mother Marianne did as head of her religious congregation, now known as the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities.
In addition, Mother Marianne made sure the medical facilities welcomed all people regardless of race, creed or economic standing, decades before desegregated hospitals. She was harshly criticized for treating alcoholics. She treated their problem, which was seen by many experts as a moral failing unworthy of help, as a disease.
Traveling with six sisters to Hawaii in 1883, she established the first general hospital on Maui one year later. The facility was so successful that King Kalakaua honored her with the medal of the Royal Order of Kapiolani. She also opened the Kapiolani Home, which cared for the many female orphans of patients with Hansen's disease.
Mother Marianne took over another badly run medical facility in Honolulu. The hospital, which was supposed to house only 100 patients, housed 200 and was unbelievably filthy.
"When she got to Honolulu, it was roll up the sleeves and clean the places up," Burkard said.
At the leper colony of Molokai, Father Damien DeVeuster, whom the Catholic Church named a saint in 2009, was dying from Hansen's disease at the time of Mother Marianne's arrival.
Upon his death, she took over his facility that cared for men and boys and established a separate enterprise to treat girls and women.
Raising money, she started programs that gave the ill population a much more dignified life. She set up classes for patients. She worked to beautify the environment with gardens and landscaping. Patients got proper clothes, music and religious counseling. She couldn't cure them, but she could make their lives better.
Mother Marianne died on August 9, 1918, at the age of 80. Most amazingly, to this day none of the Franciscan sisters have ever contracted Hansen's disease.
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue reading
By Alex Basile
Every carpenter must practice patience. We can learn important lessons from the wood shop in Nazareth from the humble Saint Joseph. I have always been a "do it yourself" type of guy thanks to my father. My dad is always a steady presence during my home-improvement ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading
By Deacon F.K. Bartels
St. Teresa's whole life is one of simple beauty and fervent purpose; it is a life contained in Christ. She shows us how to live the same way through Prayer.On reading from St. Teresa, a deep feeling of her love for His Majesty envelops us; we begin, in a very real, ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his ... continue reading
By St. Francis of Assisi
We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all ... continue reading
By St Therese of Lisieux
O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its ... continue reading
By Deacon F. K. Bartels
The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us - The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition (328). Charged by God to ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith A Fournier
God and his angels look down upon us; Christ, who looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge. Let us be armed with a great ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
If there is any message which can be drawn from St. Augustine's life, and there are many, it is the message of repentance and conversion. This is a message the world desperately needs to hear today. It is one of heartfelt dedication to Christ as Master, Teacher and ... continue reading