A relic of St. Marianne Cope will begin a five-day tour of Maui County this morning at St. Theresa Church in Kihei and culminate Saturday with a procession down the pali trail to Kalaupapa for events in the village where she served leprosy patients for more than three decades.
St. Marianne, who was canonized in Rome on Oct. 21, took over the work of caring for leprosy patients in the community after St. Damien died shortly after her arrival there. She cared for residents of Kalaupapa for 30 years beginning in 1888 and also founded Maui's first hospital, Malulani.
She died at age 80 in 1918 and was buried in Kalaupapa.
Her remains were exhumed from her grave site in 2005 and taken back to the Motherhouse chapel of her Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Hawaiian Islands tour of her relic, a bone fragment, began on Oahu the day of her canonization.
"It's for the people who couldn't go," said Patrick Downes, spokesman for the Honolulu Diocese, who did attend the canonization in Rome. "It's . . . their way of connecting to the canonization event."
The public tour has reached Maui County and the schedule follows:
Today - St. Theresa, 9:30 a.m.; Maria Lanakila Church, Lahaina, 2 p.m.; Christ the King, Kahului, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday - Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, Kula, 8 a.m.; St. Joseph Church, Makawao, noon; Holy Rosary Church, Paia, 3:30 p.m.; St. Anthony Church, Wailuku, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday - Sacred Hearts Church, Lanai City, 10 a.m. There will be an Anointing of the Sick at 1 p.m. and a Mass at 4 p.m.
Friday - (Topside on Molokai) Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Church, Kaluaaha, 10:30 a.m.; St. Joseph Church, Kamalo, 11:15 a.m.; St. Damien Church, Kaunakakai, 6 p.m.
On Saturday, Bishop Larry Silva will greet the relic at the bottom of the pali trail to Kalaupapa at 9 a.m. From there, the relic will be taken to St. Philomena Church, the Baldwin Home, the landing and Judd Park in Kalawao.
Morning prayer is set for 10:30 at St. Elizabeth Chapel and a Mass at St. Francis Church at 11 a.m. in Kalaupapa. A prayer of aloha will be said at 4:30 p.m. at Kalaupapa Airport.
The relic will end up at its home at Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace on Oahu after an event at Iolani Palace the next day.
In addition to the viewing of the relic, which will be visible in the box with a glass top, there will be performances of "November's Song," a play about St. Marianne. Written by George Herman, the hour-and-a-half monologue is from the perspective of St. Marianne. The month of November was selected as a focal point of the play because of the milestones in her life that occurred that month. Her thoughts and feelings of caring for leprosy patients are reflected in the play, a story in the Hawaii Catholic Herald said.
"November's Song" was written in 1983, the centennial year of the arrival of the Sisters of St. Francis, St. Marianne's order, the Herald said.
Performances of "November's Song" will be held to coincide with the relic's visit to Maui County. It will play today at Maria Lanakila at 7 p.m.; at St. Anthony, Wednesday, 7:45 p.m. and at Sacred Hearts on Lanai, Thursday, 3 p.m.
Aside from St. Marianne's remains in Syracuse, Downes said he believes that the only other relics are the one in Hawaii and the other presented to Pope Benedict XVI during the canonization.
"People are moved by being in the presence of . . . a saint," said Downes on the tour of the relic. "It's a way of connecting the state. . . . It's a way of bringing everyone together."
Father Gary Colton of Kihei, retired pastor of Maria Lanakila who participated in the canonization ceremony in Rome, said of the ascendance of "Blessed Marianne to St. Marianne from here to eternity:
"That's pretty powerful."
* Lee Imada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.