Embracing the Rejected

Studying theology invigorates the mind and soul but sometimes, unfortunately, it can also distract us from God…or perhaps even hide Him.  January 23 was the feast of St. Marianne Cope (1838-1918), canonized 20 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. With all the media’s attention on Pope Francis (and rightly so!), it might help to recall one of the saints elevated by our Pope Emeritus.  Amid all the constant scandal and political chatter, St. Marianne’s example gives us a great reason to reflect on God’s love for those whom the world has rejected. From Twitter, January 23:

Community of Grace ‏@communitygrace Today is the Feast of St. Marianne Cope of Hawaii who risked her life to bring Christ to those whom the world abandoned. #saintoftheday  

Exactly. At age 45, St. Marianne took six of her Franciscan sisters from Syracuse, New York, 20140311-212746.jpgto minister to the leper colony isolated on Hawaii’s Molokai Island.  She had worked in a factory to support her younger siblings and then, after joining the Franciscan sisters, founded hospitals welcoming all patients, including alcoholics and single mothers, in Utica and Syracuse.  St. Marianne was no stranger to helping those whom everybody else had rejected.  She lived another twenty-five years working on Molokai, helping St. Damien DeVeuster build a community where previously leprosy patients had lived in abject poverty.

In an age where we obsess over Super Bowl performances, celebrity arrests, and viral videos, St. Marianne’s quiet heroism reminds us of what the Gospel can accomplish…precisely where nobody else is paying attention.  However, Gaudium et Spes, the crowning statement of Vatican II, opened by declaring the Church’s desire to share the Gospel with the world and in so doing embrace the hopes and concerns of all.  Theology students know that. St. Marianne’s life offers a sobering—and inspiring!—commitment to do just that. Of course, it is not easy, but St. Marianne (and Vatican II!) knew that…and embraced the rejected anyway.

Learn more at http://blessedmariannecope.org/index.html

Jeffrey Marlett teaches theology for Saint Joseph’s College Online. Follow his blog, Spiritual Diabetes.

One thought on “Embracing the Rejected

  1. I understand your point Mr. Marlett; that is by focusing on Pope Francis, whom energizes our mind, body, and soul, we can lose sight of the finer details of God. In other words, like tunnel vision as we drive down the street, we must broaden our views, mind, faith in God alone, as Pope Francis is Christ’s Vicar, and rightly so, l we can lose sight of the big picture as we are all the part of the spiritual body of Christ, even if the Popes are the head of the body.
    St. Marianne is an inspiration in faith alone now that I see deeper into your blog, and inspiration of hope, faith and courage as anything is possible thru faith, and total devotion to God (in mind, body, and spirit). It’s impossible for man, even the Popes to enter heaven on their own accord but Yeshua said, “Those things which are impossible with men can happen with God.” Aramaic Bible in Plain English

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