In a kind of fortuitous liturgical coincidence today's memorial of Saint Marianne coincides with the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. And so at this morning's Mass, we heard this opening prayer:
God our Creator, we give thanks to you, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as you form each of us in our mother’s womb; grant, we pray, that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
We recall that in 1883 Sister Marianne Cope left New York with six sisters to minister to leprosy patients in Hawaii. She planned to remain only long enough to get them settled. But the patients’ great needs led her to remain in Hawaii for four decades; she would die there in 1918. Courageous, energetic and never daunted by any challenge, she loved the poor and most vulnerable. May the dedicated witness of Saint Marianne inspire us to reverence and protect all human life.