In 1883, Mother Marianne, formerly Barbara Cope, and the provincial of the Franciscan Sister of Syracuse, New York, led the first group of sisters to Hawaii to care for the victims of Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy. In November 1888 she took charge of Molokai's Bishop Home, for women and girls. After Father Damien's death, she also became responsible for the holy priest's Boys' Home.
Mother Marianne was eighty years old when she died on August 9, 1918. Her early resting place at Kalaupapa is marked by a high pedestal, surmounted by a statue of Saint Francis embracing the crucified Savior. In 2005, her earthly remains wee moved to Syracuse, New York. In 1974, the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints granted permission to gather and submit preliminary research on her life and virtues. A historical commission was appointed in 1980 to collect all available documents for submission to Rome, a major step toward beatification.