January 23rd is a special day for St. Joseph and St. Patrick's Church in Utica. It's the Feast Day of a saint who grew up in their church more than 100 years ago: Saint Marianne Cope. Our Cara Thomas tells us how her Feast Day is a little out of the ordinary.
UTICA, N.Y. -- Songs were sung and prayers were said at a mass Wednesday night. All to remember and honor the blessed Saint Marianne Cope.
Ellen Miekam Benton, from St. Joseph and St. Patrick's Church, said, "Saint Marianne grew up right here in West Utica. And the seed of her spirituality was planted here at this location."
Her life reflected her faith in God, following anywhere He led. Even to Hawaii, where she cared for people with leprosy. And it wasn’t until this past October that Saint Marianne was canonized into the Roman Catholic Church. At that time, January 23rd was designated as the day she would be honored.
“People who are devoted to that saint celebrate with people that are not only alive but we celebrate with the communion of saints,” says Benton.
A Saint’s Feast Day is normally celebrated on the day of their death. But not Saint Marianne. Since that day was already taken, she will be remembered on her birthday instead.
It’s a day that’s near and dear to many Utica residents’ hearts. It would be her 175th birthday. Members of the church say it's a day that should be remembered by everyone in Central New York and Hawaii.
Betty Frank, a member of St. Joseph and St. Patrick's Church, said, “People don’t realize there’s thousands and thousands of saints, but for Utica, Syracuse, Otisville, Fonda, to have a saint here it’s unbelievable.”
Benton said, “It’s just incredible that Utica has a saint. We are only one of seven cities in the United States to be able to say we have a saint. And Saint Marianne Cope is our saint.”
This past October during the canonization, our Bill Carey introduced us to two Saints who came from Central New York: Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha. You can watch the "Saints of Upstate New York" documentary by clicking on the link.