The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. We invite you to visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view the many canonized and beatified men and women who make up this section of the Collection.
While the Collection does not have a relic of Mother Marianne Cope, she was the helpmate of St. Damien of Molokai who was canonized on October 11, 2009. In addition to the work she accomplished, which is described by Pope Benedict XVI in the video below, she nursed Father Damien when he was dying and took over his work afterwards.
Included with this post is St. Damien’s Letter Written Entirely in His Own Hand–an almost unheard of artifact, given his disease of leprosy. Usually anything connected to someone dying of this disease would be destroyed. It is an unusual and valued part of this Collection.
Papal Artifacts honors the gifts of their lives to our Church.
I now turn to Marianne Cope, born in eighteen thirty-eight in Heppenheim, Germany. She was only one year old when taken to the United States. In eighteen sixty-two she entered the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis at Syracuse, New York. Later, as Superior General of her congregation, Mother Marianne willingly embraced a call to care for the lepers of Hawaii after many others had refused. She personally went, with six of her fellow sisters, to manage ahospital on Oahu, later founding Malulani Hospital on Maui and opening a home for girls whose parents were lepers. Five years after that she accepted the invitation to open a home for women and girls on the island of Molokai itself, bravely going there herself and effectively ending her contact with the outside world. There she looked after Father Damien, already famous for his heroic work among the lepers, nursed him as he died and took over his work among male lepers. At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm. 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. —Pope Benedict XVI