Saint's remains return to Hawaii permanently

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Saint's remains return to Hawaii permanently
FILE - This 1883 file photo provided by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities shows Mother Marianne Cope, a nun who dedicated her life to caring for exiled leprosy patients on Kalaupapa in Hawaii. The second Vatican authenticated miracle in allowing Mother Marianne Cope to soon become St. Marianne Cope involves the healing of a New York woman who had an infection disease destroying her organs. (AP Photo/Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, File)
The tapestry of Mother Marianne Cope hangs from St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican as Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a canonization ceremony, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Mother Marianne was declared a saint by the pontiff along with six others during the ceremony. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A view of St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, as Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a canonization ceremony, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. The pontiff will canonize seven people, Kateri Tekakwitha, Maria del Carmen, Pedro Calungsod, Jacques Berthieu, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Mother Marianne Cope, and Anna Shaeffer. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
The tapestry of Mother Marianne Cope hangs from the St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Mother Marianne will be one of the two US women to be declared saints along with five others in a ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Sunday. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Tapestries of saints-to-be from left; Kateri Tekakwitha, Maria del Carmen, Pedro Calungsod, Jacques Berthieu, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Mother Marianne Cope, and Anna Shaeffer hang from St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. The seven will be declared saints in a ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a canonization ceremony, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. The pontiff will canonize seven people, Kateri Tekakwitha, Maria del Carmen, Pedro Calungsod, Jacques Berthieu, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Mother Marianne Cope, and Anna Shaeffer. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

HONOLULU (AP) - The remains of a saint known for caring for exiled leprosy patients have been returned to Hawaii.

St. Marianne Cope's remains will arrive in a hearse Thursday at Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu for a ceremony and Mass.

She was 80 when died of natural causes in 1918 at the remote Kalaupapa peninsula on the island of Molokai, where the Hawaiian kingdom exiled leprosy patients to control the disease. Her remains were exhumed from Kalaupapa in 2005 during her canonization process and taken to Syracuse, New York, where her religious congregation is based.

She gained sainthood in 2012.

Relocation from New York was necessary because the buildings of the campus where her remains were housed are no longer structurally sound, requiring the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities to move to another part of Syracuse.

It makes sense to keep her remains in Honolulu, as opposed to Kalaupapa, which can be accessed only via plane or mule, said Bishop Larry Silva of the Honolulu diocese.

The remains - a full collection of her bones - arrived Sunday in a casket aboard a United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, said diocese spokesman Patrick Downes. He said the remains have been kept at the St. Francis Convent in Manoa.

A sealed zinc-coated metal box containing the bones will be placed upright in a koa wood and glass cabinet in the cathedral. The display cabinet already contained her relic, a small box of bone fragments that a nun traveling from Syracuse carried to Honolulu in 2011. The relic was taken on a tour of the Hawaiian islands.

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