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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, August 7, 2004

Saint Francis school turns 80

Advertiser Staff

In 1883, Sister Marianne Cope and six Franciscan sisters from Syracuse, N.Y., arrived in Honolulu aboard the SS Mariposa. Answering a call for aid from King Kalakaua, their mission was to care for victims of Hansen's disease. Forty years later, after establishing multiple institutions around the state, including the present-day St. Francis Healthcare Systems, the sisters founded Saint Francis School, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

For her acts of benevolence toward the Hawaiian people, Sister Marianne was proclaimed Mother Marianne of Moloka'i by King Kalakaua. Six years after her death, the Franciscan sisters honored her by naming their Manoa convent the St. Francis Convent. In 1924, the school was founded to train young women to become nurses who would continue to work with Hansen's disease patients.

Building on those beginnings, the school's focus has broadened to provide Catholic education to girls in grades 6-12.

"The beauty of a journey is that one never knows where exactly it will take you. Just as Francis of Assisi and the Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order had vision and a purpose, so do the young women at Saint Francis School. We are blessed to have a rich heritage in our 80 years of service and look forward to continuing to impart our victories and lessons learned with the youth of Hawai'i," said principal Sister Joan of Arc Souza, in a written statement.

Throughout its 80th anniversary year, Saint Francis School has planned various celebrations, including A Night in Assisi gala fund-raiser on Sept. 18.

For more information, call 988-4111, ext. 116, or visit www.stfrancis-oahu.org.