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Two American Catholic Women to be Canonized as Saints this Year

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 4th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Two American religious figures - one a native American, the other the director of a hospital are expected to be canonized as saints later this year. The Blessed Kateri Tekawitha and Blessed Mother Marianne Cope have had miracles associated with their intercession. Both were renowned for their life's work in rural New York.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mohawk Indian Kateri Tekawitha spent most of her life in the region during the 17th century. Two hundred years later, the Blessed Mother Marianne Cope began a religious life that focused on providing medical care.

Pope Benedict XVI certified miracles attributed to the two women last month, which is the final step toward sainthood. Their canonization is expected in 2012, bringing 12 of the Catholic Church's thousands of saints who were either born in America or ministered in what is now the United States.

Sainthood for Blessed Kateri is expected to draw visits to a pair of local shrines linked to her life. The National Shrine of the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Fonda and the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs in nearby Auriesville are located along the Mohawk River Valley.

Both shrines had already closed for the winter when word came out of the Vatican that the pope had affirmed the women for canonization. Officials at both sites say they expect bigger crowds next year as a result.

"We've been praying for this for a long time, years and years and years," said Friar Mark Steed, the Kateri shrine's director. "It will mean a bit of work in terms of how we can promote it, how we can present the shrine in a better light."

Officials say that sainthood, the first for an American Indian could be a big step toward helping to heal centuries of conflict between whites and Native Americans.

Mother Marianne Cope's roots in rural New York began in 1840 after her family emigrated from Germany when she was a baby. A factory worker until she joined the Franciscan sisters in the early 1860s, the nun worked as a nurse and hospital administrator, helping to found two hospitals - St. Joseph's in Syracuse and St. Elizabeth's in Utica, both still in operation. No one was denied medical care.

Marianne then answered a plea from Hawaii for help providing care for leprosy patients. She died of natural causes and was buried there. In 2005, her remains were brought to the St. Anthony Convent in Syracuse.

The Vatican recognized Mother Marianne Cope's intercession for the unexplained cure of a New York girl dying of multiple organ failure. The Vatican recommended her canonization last month after a second recovery was attributed to her intercession.

Kateri Tekakwitha was beatified in 1980 when John Paul II waived the formal process of the first miracle typically required. Prayers seeking her intercession with the Lord are credited for the second Tekakwitha miracle: the full recovery of a 6-year-old Washington State boy who had a flesh-eating disease.

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