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HONOLULU--In life, Mother Marianne Cope was known for her strength and kindness, battling bureaucrats in Hawaii as she led a group of fellow Franciscan nuns to care for leprosy patients in the islands.
And since her death 100 years ago, she has been credited with helping cure two people.
On Sunday, Mother Marianne will be declared a saint, with the Vatican formally recognizing what her supporters have long believed in their hearts: That she is in heaven and that through her intercession two people were miraculously cured of ailments that should have killed them.
At the ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI, the church will also canonize six others, including Kateri Tekakwitha, a 17th-century Mohawk Indian who spent most of her life in what is now upstate New York.
Bishop Larry Silva of the Honolulu diocese said the church canonizes people so adherents can be inspired by their example to go to heaven and become saints themselves.
"Our ultimate goal is to be in heaven and we know the journey there is not always easy. So we need role models, people who can inspire us through by their lives to do the same," he said.