Today the Church celebrates the Memorials of St. Vincent of Saragossa, deacon & martyr; St. Marianne Cope.
Vincent of Saragossa was one of the Church's three most illustrious deacons, the other two being Stephen and Lawrence. He is also Spain's most renowned martyr. Ordained deacon by Bishop Valerius of Saragossa, he was taken in chains to Valencia during the Diocletian persecution and put to death.
St. Marianne Cope was born in western Germany in 1838. She entered religious life in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1862. She served as a teacher and principal in several schools in the state and established two of the first hospitals in the central New York area: St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse.
In 1883, Mother Marianne’s community was the only one of fifty to respond positively to an emissary from Hawaii who requested Catholic sisters to provide health care on the Hawaiian Islands, especially to those with leprosy.
Over the next five years, St. Marianne set up a system of long-term education and care for her patients.
St. Marianne promised her sisters that none of them would ever contract the disease. To this day, no sister has. Her care earned her the affectionate title “beloved mother of the outcasts.”
She died in 1918 and was beatified on May 14, 2005 and canonized on October 21, 2012, both by Pope Benedict XVI.
"At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm," Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily during the Mass for her canonization. "She is a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved Saint Francis."
Almighty ever-living God, mercifully pour out your Spirit upon us, so that our hearts may possess the strong love by which the Martyr Saint Vincent triumphed over all bodily torments.
O God, who called us to serve your Son in the least of our brothers and sisters, grant, we pray, that by the example and intercession of the Virgin Saint Marianne Cope, we may burn with love for you and for those who suffer.