Mother Marianne of Molokai

A Saintly Parishioner
One of the first parishioners to become a Franciscan Sister was Barbara Koob (1838-1918). Shortly after her birth in Germany, Barbara's father, Peter Koob, decided that the family should emigrate to the United States. The Koobs settled in Utica in 1840 and were among the earliest parishioners of Saint Joseph's. Barbara studied for five years at Saint Joseph's School and then went to work at a factory in West Utica (probably the Utica Steam Woolen Mill). After the death of her father in 1862, Barbara joined the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis at Saint Joseph's, adopting the name Sister Marianne.

After taking her vows in November 1863, Sister Marianne began an impressive career. In 1864, she was elected "vivaria" or deputy to the Mother Superior in Syracuse.

In 1868-69 she was appointed superior of Saint Clare's Convent at Saint Joseph's Church. In 1870 Mother Marianne was installed as administrator of the recently opened Saint Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse. Between 1877 and 1883, she served in Syracuse as Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters.

But it was Mother Marianne's work among victims of leprosy in Hawaii for which she is best known. In June 1883, Mother Marianne received a letter from a Catholic priest in Hawaii, begging that Sisters be sent to staff hospitals and schools in the island kingdom. "My interest is awakened," she replied, "and I feel an irresistible force drawing me to follow this call." In Oc­tober 1883, Mother Marianne and six Sisters departed for Hawaii, where they worked with a Belgian priest, the Rev. Damien de Veuster. Over the course of the suc­ceeding generations, several more Sisters from Saint Joseph's parish followed Mother Marianne's path to Hawaii.

Although she and her fellow Franciscans never suc­cumbed to leprosy (as did the the unfortunate Father Damien), Mother Marianne never again returned to Utica or even to the mainland. After devoting more than three decades to the care and education of victims of this devastating illness, she died in 1918. This inspira­tional woman, who was a parishioner of Saint Joseph's for the first twenty-four years of her life, is presently a candidate for sainthood.

Photos From Germany
Photos by:  Kaitlyn R. Graves, grandaughter of
Phyllis and Werner Franz

St. Peter's Cathedral Heppenheim, Germany,
Home parish & baptismal church of Barbara Koob
(aka Blessed Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai)

St. Peter's Cathedral Heppenheim, Germany,
(aka "Dom der Bergstrasse"),
High Altar
    Baptismal fountain wherein Barbara Koob was     baptized in 1838

    "Rosette" (round window at the side of the     cathedral)

"Last Supper" commemorative plaque.

   Church registrar's book containing individual birth records (including Barbara Koob). Original birth certificate of Barbara Koob.    Printed short form version of Barbara Koob's birth certificate. Note.: Interesting annotation at the end that "Sister Barbara Koob died on August 9,1918 in Molokai as assistant to Brother Damien Deveustic the "apostle of the lepers".

More Links

Biography: Mother Marianne of Molokai

Blessed Mother Marianne Cope

Mother Marianne -

Body of Mother Marianne Cope to be exhumed

Canonization is pushed for Molokai's other saint

Servant of God Mother Marianne Cope

Mother Marianne Cope and the Sisters of St. Francis

Vatican decree for beatification of Mother Marianne Cope

Welcome Home - Catholic Sun

Mother Marianne's remains coming - UticaOD

Blessed Marianne Cope