On June 29, 1860, a few months
before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, a census taker arrived at the
home of Peter Koob, in the Sixth Ward of Utica,
a city in the middle of New York
Koob (the name was
later regularized to “Cope”) was a Bavarian laborer. The remainder of the
household also came from Bavaria:
his wife, Barbara, and their children, Catherina, John, and Barbara. All of
them were Catholic.
Barbara, who was 20, also held a job, described only as a “factory
hand.” Within two years, however, her life radically changed when she entered
the convent and became a member of the Sisters of St. Francis in nearby Syracuse. Bearing her new
religious name, Sister Marianne Cope taught school, was a principal, established
two hospitals, and fostered medical education. Such talent and determination
led to her being named Mother General of her order.