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 State.
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.