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Canonization of Marianne Cope brings changes to Syracuse motherhouse

Ellen Abbott

At the Sisters of Saint Francis' motherhouse in Syracuse there is a museum and chapel dedicated to Mother Marianne Cope, who was canonized a saint in Rome on Sunday. The Sisters anticipate Cope's canonization will bring more interest in her history.Sister Roberta Smith, the General Minister of the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities, says now that Cope is a saint, knowledge of her will heighten, bringing more visitors to the Court Street campus. And that will mean renovations.

"[We will be] keeping of course the chapel, but revamping the whole museum so it will be user friendly.  And we have to conserve and preserve some of the items that are starting to deteriorate," Smith said.

These changes also come as the community is building a new residence for the sisters who live on the campus.  Many of those sisters traveled to the Vatican last week, where Pope Benedict XVI canonized Cope and six other saints, including Kateri Tekakwith, the first Native American saint and the daughter of a Mohawk Indian chief in upsate New York.

Cope, a German immigrant, grew up in Utica and established two hospitals in central New York as a Franciscan nun, before spending the rest of her life ministering to lepers in Hawaii.  

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.