Nun on verge of becoming Hawaii's second saint

c. 2011 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Catholic nun who worked with lepers is on the verge of becoming Hawaii's second canonized saint, after Vatican officials attributed a second miracle to her intercession.

Mother Marianne Cope, a German-born Franciscan nun who spent 30 years caring for lepers on the island of Molokai, died of natural causes in 1918. She succeeded St. Damien de Veuster, a Belgian priest known as "Father Damien," who died of leprosy in 1889. Damien, who was canonized in 2009, is considered the patron saint of Hawaii and of HIV/AIDS patients.

Pope John Paul II declared Marianne "Blessed" in 2004, after recognizing as miraculous the 1993 cure of a teenage cancer patient in Syracuse, N.Y., who was dying of organ failure until a Franciscan nun prayed for Marianne's intercession. A second miracle, occurring after beatification, is required for canonization. On Tuesday (Dec. 6), the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, based in Syracuse, announced that the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints had recognized another healing as both medically "inexplicable" and due to Marianne's intercession.

The canonization still requires the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, expected sometime next year, and the sisters say they will not reveal the details of the miracle until then.

"For little Hawaii, with our population and we've come up with two saints," Sister Joan of Arc Souza of Honolulu told the local KHON2 television station. "This is spectacular."

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