Tribute to unofficial Mother Marianne miracle through song

Published  7:14 PM HST Oct 19, 2012
HONOLULU -

In a little more than 24 hours, the canonization ceremony begins in Rome for the sister from Kalaupapa who will become Hawaii's second Saint.    
     
Mother Marianne Cope is credited with healing miracles and for one local musician, he said he's living proof of her spiritual power and he's put her story into a song.  
 
When Sean Tiwanak sings his song written for Mother Marianne it comes from his heart, or at least what's left of it.
 
"I couldn't even sing one line without gasping for air," said Tiwanak.
 
Before 2005, at age 37, when an infection destroyed his heart, Tiwanak was living the high life as a successful businessman and music producer.  All of that was lost when he had severe heart failure.  He said every night for he and his family was traumatic.
 
"I would be saying goodbye to them before I went to sleep because I really didn't know if I was going to survive the night," said Tiwanak.
 
Things began to change when he was given a relic of Mother Marianne from the Sisters of St Francis.
 
"The shroud that they placed over Mother Marianne's body when they exhumed her from Kalaupapa.  I had a piece of that with me all the time and that really made me feel close to her," said Tiwanak.
 
In his darkest of moments, Tiwanak said he would pray to Mother Marianne.
 
"I asked Mother Marianne, in the dark, with a candle on, if you help me, I promise I won't let people forget who you are," said Tiwanak.
 
Today, with the help of a pacemaker, Tiwanak now sings with relative ease.
The song, inspired by the letters Marianne wrote to King Kalakaua, is both a tribute and thank you to Marianne.
 
"A mahalo from our family and from me, too, but also just to honor her for what she's done for the people of Hawaii," said Tiwanak.
 
The song has been performed many times, including by the Symphony Orchestra Choir.
 
Tiwanak hopes what people hear is a message of faith, hope and love.
 
"I have my struggles, but I feel healed. I feel like my life has been blessed and miracles happen every day," said Tiwanak.

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