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Father Damien
Saint Damien of Molokai
Saint Damien de Veuster was a Roman Catholic missionary who ministered to lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.
Saint
Born January 3, 1840(1840-01-03), Tremelo, Belgium
Died April 15, 1889 (aged 49), Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches; some churches of Anglican Communion; individual Lutheran Churches
Beatified June 4, 1995, Rome by Pope John Paul II
Canonized October 11, 2009, Rome by Pope Benedict XVI
Major shrine Leuven, Belgium (bodily relics)
Maui, Hawaii (relics of his hand)
Feast May 10 (universal); April 15 (in Hawaii)
Patronage people with leprosy, people with HIV and AIDS, outcasts, the State of Hawaii.

Father Damien or Saint Damien of Molokai, SS.CC. (Dutch: Pater Damiaan or Heilige Damiaan van Molokai; January 3, 1840 – April 15, 1889), born Jozef De Veuster, was a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,[1] a missionary religious order. He won recognition for his ministry to people with leprosy (also known as Hansen's disease), who had been placed under a government-sanctioned medical quarantine on the island of Molokai in the Kingdom of Hawaii.[2]

After sixteen years caring for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of those in the leper colony, he eventually contracted and died of the disease, and is widely considered a "martyr of charity". He is the ninth person recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church to have lived, worked, and died in what is now the United States.

In both the Latin Rite and the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, Damien is venerated as a saint, one who is holy and worthy of public veneration and invocation. In the Anglican communion, as well as other denominations of Christianity, Damien is considered the spiritual patron for Hansen's disease, HIV and AIDS patients, and outcasts. As the patron saint of the Diocese of Honolulu and of Hawaii, Father Damien Day is celebrated statewide on April 15. Upon his beatification by Pope John Paul II in Rome on June 4, 1995, Blessed Damien was granted a memorial feast day, which is celebrated on May 10. Father Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Rosary Sunday October 11, 2009.[3][4] The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "the Apostle of the Lepers",[5] and elsewhere he is known as the "leper priest".

Contents

Early life

Damien was born Jozef ("Jef") De Veuster, the seventh child of the Flemish corn merchant Frans De Veuster and his wife Cato Wouters in the village of Tremelo in Flemish Brabant. He attended college at Braine-le-Comte, then entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Leuven, taking the name of Brother Damianus (Damiaan in Dutch, Damien in French) in his first vows, presumably in reference to the first Saint Damian.[6]

Following in the footsteps of his brother Auguste (Father Pamphile), Damien became a Picpus Brother on October 7, 1860. His superiors thought that he was not a good candidate for the priesthood because he lacked education. However, he was not considered unintelligent. Because he learned Latin well from his brother, his superiors decided to allow him to become a priest. During his ecclesiastical studies, he would pray every day before a picture of St. Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries, to be sent on a mission.[7][8] Three years later his prayer was answered when, because of illness, Auguste could not travel to Hawaii as a missionary, and Damien was allowed to take his place.

Mission to Hawaii

Portrait of Father Damien, attributed to Edward Clifford, 1868, Honolulu Academy of Arts

On March 19, 1864, Damien landed at Honolulu Harbor in downtown Honolulu as a missionary. There, Damien was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1864, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, a church established by his religious order.[9] In 1865, he was assigned to the Catholic Mission in North Kohala on the island of Hawaiʻi.

While Father Damien was serving in several parishes on the island of Oahu, the Kingdom of Hawai'i was facing a public health crisis. The Native Hawaiians became afflicted by diseases inadvertently introduced to their islands by foreign traders and sailors. Thousands died of influenza, syphilis and other ailments which had never before affected them. This included the plight of leprosy (Hansen's disease). At the time, leprosy was thought to be highly contagious (we now know that 95% of the general population has immunity) and was thought to be incurable. In 1865, fearful of its spread, the Hawaii Legislature passed and King Kamehameha V approved, the "Act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy" which quarantined the lepers of the kingdom and moved them to settlement colonies known as Kalaupapa and Kalawao at the east end of the Kalaupapa peninsula on Molokaʻi. Kalawao County, where the village is situated, is divided from the rest of the island by a steep mountain ridge, and even today the only land access is by a mule track. Over 8000 people were sent to the Kalaupapa peninsula from 1866 to 1969. The Royal Board of Health provided the quarantined people with supplies and food but did not yet have the resources to offer proper healthcare. According to documents from the time, the Kingdom of Hawaii did not plan the settlement to be in disarray but did not provide sufficient resources and medical help.[10] They planned on the inhabiting sufferers to grow their own crops, but because of the nature of the environment and their sickness, it was nearly impossible. By 1868, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1911), "Drunken and lewd conduct prevailed. The easy-going, good-natured people seemed wholly changed."[11]

Father Damien, seen here with the Kalawao Girls Choir during the 1870s.

While Bishop Louis Desiré Maigret, vicar apostolic, believed that the lepers at the very least needed a priest to minister to their needs, he realized that this assignment could potentially be a death sentence, and thus did not want to send any one person "in the name of obedience". After prayerful thought, four priests volunteered. The bishop's plan was for the volunteers to take turns assisting the distressed. Father Damien was the first to volunteer and on 10 May 1873, Father Damien arrived at the secluded settlement at Kalaupapa, where Bishop Maigret presented him to the 816 lepers living there. Damien's first course of action was to build a church and establish the Parish of Saint Philomena. His role was not limited to being a priest: he dressed ulcers, built homes and beds, built coffins and dug graves.[12] Six months after his arrival at Kalawao he wrote his brother, Pamphile, in Europe:

…I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ.

Damien's arrival is seen by some as a turning point for the community. Under his leadership, basic laws were enforced, shacks became painted houses, working farms were organized and schools were erected. At his own request, and that of the lepers, Father Damien remained on Molokai.

Illness and death

In December 1884 while preparing to bathe, Damien put his foot into scalding water, causing his skin to blister. He felt nothing.[13] He had contracted leprosy. Despite this discovery, residents say that Damien worked vigorously to build as many homes as he could and planned for the continuation of the programs he created after he was gone.

Masanao Goto, a Japanese leprologist, came to Honolulu in 1885 and treated Father Damien. It was his theory that leprosy was caused by a diminution of the blood, and his treatment consisted of nourishing food, moderate exercise, frequent friction to the benumbed parts, special ointments and medical baths. The treatments did, indeed, relieve some of the symptoms and were very popular with the Hawaiian patients. Father Damien had faith in the treatments and stated that he wished to be treated by no one but Dr. Masanao Goto.[14][15][16][17]

Dr. Goto was one of his best friends[18] and Damien's last trip to Honolulu on July 10, 1886, was made to receive treatment from him.

In his last years Damien engaged in a flurry of activity. While continuing his charitable ministrations, he hastened to complete his many building projects, enlarge his orphanages, and organize his work. Help came from four strangers who came to Kalaupapa to help the ailing missionary: a priest, a soldier, a male nurse, and a nun.[citation needed]

The leprosy patients of Molokai gathered around Father Damien's grave in mourning.

Louis Lambert Conrardy was a Belgian priest. Mother Marianne Cope had been the head of the Franciscan-run St Joseph's hospital in Syracuse, New York. Joseph Dutton was an American Civil War soldier who left behind a marriage broken because of alcoholism. James Sinnett was a nurse from Chicago. Conrardy took up pastoral duties; Cope organized a working hospital; Dutton attended to the construction and maintenance of the community's buildings; Sinnett nursed Damien in the last phases of the disease. An arm in a sling, a foot in bandages and his leg dragging, Damien knew death was near. He was bedridden on March 23, 1889, and on March 30 he made a general confession and renewed his vows. On April 1, he received Holy Viaticum and on April 2, Extreme Unction.[citation needed]

Father Damien died of leprosy at 8:00 am on April 15, 1889, aged 49. The next day, after Mass by Father Moellers at St. Philomena’s, the whole settlement followed the funeral cortège to the cemetery where Damien was laid to rest under the same Pandanus tree where he first slept upon his arrival on Molokai.[citation needed]

In January 1936, at the request of the Belgian government, Damien's body was returned to his native land. It was brought back aboard the Belgian sailing ship Mercator and now rests in Leuven, an historic university city close to the village where Damien was born. After his beatification in June 1995, the remains of his right hand were returned to Hawaii, and re-interred in his original grave on Molokai.[19]

Order of Kalakaua

The grave of Saint Damien in the crypt of the church of the Congregation of Sacred Hearts (Leuven, 50°52′33.4″N 4°41′54.1″E / 50.875944°N 4.698361°E / 50.875944; 4.698361)

King David Kalakaua bestowed on Damien the honor Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Kalakaua. When Princess Lydia Liliuokalani visited the settlement to present the medal, she was reported as having been too distraught and heartbroken to read her speech. The princess shared her experience with the world and publicly acclaimed Damien's efforts. Consequently, Damien's name was spread across the United States and Europe. American Protestants raised large sums of money for the missionary. The Church of England sent food, medicine, clothing and supplies. It is believed that Damien never wore the medal given to him.

Criticism and commentary

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C. M. Hyde

Upon his death, a global discussion arose as to the mysteries of Damien's life and his work on the island of Molokai. Much criticism came out of the Congregational and Presbyterian churches in Hawaii. It has been argued that these church leaders took a stance against Damien largely because of their bias against Catholicism. The most well-known treatise against Damien was by a Honolulu Presbyterian, Reverend C. M. Hyde, in a letter dated 2 August 1889 to a fellow pastor, Reverend H. B. Gage; in it, Hyde referred to Father Damien as "a coarse, dirty man" whose leprosy should be attributed to his "carelessness".[20]

In 1889 Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and his family arrived in Hawaii for an extended stay. While there Stevenson, also a Presbyterian, drafted a famous open letter as a rebuttal in defense of Damien. The Catholic Encyclopedia judges that in this treatise "the memory of the Apostle of the Lepers is brilliantly vindicated".[5] Prior to writing his letter, dated February 25, 1890, Stevenson stayed in Molokai for eight days and seven nights, during which he kept a diary.[20] In the letter Stevenson answered Hyde's criticisms point by point.[20] He sought testimony from critical Protestants who knew the man, which he recorded in his diary. The treatise included some extracts, like the following which upbraided Rev. Hyde for his fault finding:

But, sir, when we have failed, and another has succeeded; when we have stood by, and another has stepped in; when we sit and grow bulky in our charming mansions, and a plain, uncouth peasant steps into the battle, under the eyes of God, and succours the afflicted, and consoles the dying, and is himself afflicted in his turn, and dies upon the field of honour - the battle cannot be retrieved as your unhappy irritation has suggested. It is a lost battle, and lost for ever. One thing remained to you in your defeat - some rags of common honour; and these you have made haste to cast away.[20][21]

In writing to Hyde, Stevenson proved prescient:

If that world at all remember you, on the day when Damien of Molokai shall be named a Saint, it will be in virtue of one work: your letter to the Reverend H. B. Gage.

Stevenson further chided Hyde for nit-picking Damien and failing to acknowledge his heroic virtue:

You are one of those who have an eye for faults and failures; that you take a pleasure to find and publish them; and that, having found them, you make haste to forget the overvailing virtues and the real success which had alone introduced them to your knowledge. It is a dangerous frame of mind.[21]

Stevenson then comments on his own journal entries:

…I have set down these private passages, as you perceive, without correction; thanks to you, the public has them in their bluntness. They are almost a list of the man's faults, for it is rather these that I was seeking: with his virtues, with the heroic profile of his life, I and the world were already sufficiently acquainted. I was besides a little suspicious of Catholic testimony; in no ill sense, but merely because Damien's admirers and disciples were the least likely to be critical. I know you will be more suspicious still; and the facts set down above were one and all collected from the lips of Protestants who had opposed the father in his life. Yet I am strangely deceived, or they build up the image of a man, with all his weakness, essentially heroic, and alive with rugged honesty, generosity, and mirth.[20]

The Catholic Encyclopedia further states that a correspondence in the "Pacific Commercial Advertiser", 20 June 1905, "completely removes from the character of Father Damien every vestige of suspicion, proving beyond a doubt that Dr. Hyde's insinuations rested merely on misunderstandings".[5]

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi offered his own defense of Father Damien's life and work. Gandhi claimed Damien to have been an inspiration for his social campaigns in India that led to the freedom of his people and secured aid for those that needed it. Gandhi was quoted in M.S. Mehendale’s 1971 account, Gandhi Looks at Leprosy, as saying,

The political and journalistic world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Molokai. It is worthwhile to look for the sources of such heroism.

Catholic Church

Original grave of Father Damien next to the St. Philomena Roman Catholic Church in Kalawao, Kalaupapa Peninsula, Molokai, Hawaii (21°10′37″N 156°56′53.3″W / 21.17694°N 156.948139°W / 21.17694; -156.948139)

In the process of examining Damien's fitness for beatification and canonization, the Roman Curia reviewed documentation of published and unpublished criticisms against the missionary's life and work. Diaries and interviews were considered. In the end it was decided that Damien met the standards for beatification and canonization.

Canonization

In 1977, Pope Paul VI declared Father Damien to be venerable, the first of three steps that lead to sainthood. On June 4, 1995, Pope John Paul II beatified him and gave him his official spiritual title of Blessed. On December 20, 1999, Jorge Medina Estévez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, confirmed the November 1999 decision of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to place Blessed Damien on the liturgical calendar with the rank of optional memorial. Father Damien was canonized on October 11, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI. His feast Day is celebrated on May 10. In Hawaii, it is celebrated on the day of his death, April 15.

Two miracles have been attributed to Father Damien's posthumous intercession: On June 13, 1992, Pope John Paul II approved the cure of a nun in France in 1895 as a miracle attributed to Venerable Damien’s intercession. In that case, Sister Simplicia Hue began a novena to Father Damien as she lay dying of a lingering intestinal illness. It is stated that pain and symptoms of the illness disappeared overnight.

In the second case, Audrey Toguchi, a Hawaiian woman who suffered from cancer, was completely cured after having prayed at the grave of Father Damien on Molokai:[22] In 1997, Toguchi was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a cancer that arises in fat cells. She underwent surgery a year later. A tumor the size of a fist was removed from the side of her left thigh and buttock. Unfortunately, the cancer spread to her lungs. Her physician, Dr. Walter Chang, told her, 'Nobody has ever survived this cancer. It's going to take you.'[23] The Toguchi case was documented in the Hawaii Medical Journal of October 2000.[19]

In April 2008, The Holy See accepted the two cures as evidence of Father Damien's sanctity. On June 2, 2008, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican voted to recommend raising Father Damien of Molokai to sainthood. The decree that officially notes and verifies the miracle needed for canonization was promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI and Jose Cardinal Saraiva Martins on Thursday, July 3, 2008, with the ceremony taking place in Rome, with celebrations in Belgium and Hawaii.[24] On February 21, 2009, the Vatican announced that Father Damien would be canonized.[3] The ceremony took place in Rome on Rosary Sunday October 11, 2009, in the presence of King Albert II of the Belgians and Queen Paola as well as the Belgian Prime Minister and several cabinet ministers,[4][25] completing the process of canonization. Four other individuals were canonized with Father Damien at the same ceremony: Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, Sister Jeanne Jugan, Father Francisco Coll Guitart and Rafael Arnáiz Barón.[26]

Damien's symbols are a tree and a dove.

In arts and media

This reredos in Episcopal St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood shows cross-denominational veneration.

Director David Miller made a short film of Father Damien's life in 1938 entitled The Great Heart, released by MGM.

The first full-length picture on Father Damien was Molokai (1959), a Spanish production directed by Luis Lucia with Javier Escrivá, Roberto Camardiel and Gerard Tichy playing the main roles.[27]

The one-man play Damien tells the story of Damien's life in the first person through a series of flashbacks.

Father Damien was portrayed in 1980 by Ken Howard in the television film Father Damien: Leper Priest.[28]

After the beatification of Blessed Damien, Belgian film producer Tharsi Vanhuysse was inspired to lead a project honoring the famous priest. Vanhuysse teamed with film producer Grietje Lammertyn of ERA Films and searched for a screenwriter, a director and lesser known actors. American John Briley, who had won an Academy Award for the screenplay of Gandhi, and had worked on Cry Freedom, was chosen to write Molokai: The Story of Father Damien. Paul Cox, who had completed an independent movie about the artist Vincent van Gogh, was selected to direct the project. Australian David Wenham was chosen to play the lead, and other actors in the film included Derek Jacobi, Kris Kristofferson, Sam Neill, Tom Wilkinson, Chris Haywood, and Peter O'Toole. The movie was released on March 17, 1999.[29]

Legacy

In both ecumenical religious and non-sectarian communities, Damien's ministry to lepers is being cited as an example of how society should minister to HIV/AIDS patients .

In 2005, Damien was honored with the title of De Grootste Belg, chosen as "The Greatest Belgian" throughout that country's history in polling conducted by the Flemish public broadcasting service, VRT.[30]

U.S. President Barack Obama, who grew up in Hawaii, expressed his deep admiration for St. Damien de Veuster and offered his prayers for all those celebrating the priest's extraordinary life and witness. He issued the statement on Oct. 9, two days before the pope canonized the Belgian priest and four others at the Vatican.[31]

See also

Statue outside the Hawaii State Capitol Building

Damien is considered an important person in the history of Hawaii. The Father Damien Statue on the steps of the State Capitol Building honors him, and a replica is displayed in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol.[32]

References

  1. ^  De Broeck, William (1913). "Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Congregation_of_the_Sacred_Hearts_of_Jesus_and_Mary_and_of_the_Perpetual_Adoration_of_the_Blessed_Sacrament_of_the_Altar. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  2. ^ Morton, Graeme, Damien actor feels spiritual calling, Calgary Herald, 2008-08-24. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  3. ^ a b ‘Apostle of the Lepers,’ Spanish mystic among 10 to be canonized
  4. ^ a b Pope proclaims five new saints
  5. ^ a b c  Boeynaems, Libert H. (1913). "Father Damien (Joseph De Veuster)". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Father_Damien_(Joseph_de_Veuster). Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  6. ^ Biography (in Flemish)
  7. ^ "Pater Damiaan ("De Grootste Belg" biography)". Canvas.be. http://degrootstebelg.canvas.be/dgb_master/100belgen/dgb_damiaan_pater/index.shtml. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  8. ^ "Blessed Damian De Veuster". Biography. Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 2007-05-10. http://www.ssccpicpus.com/pag.aspx?ln=en&id=87. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  9. ^ Eynikel, Hilde (1997). Damiaan: De Definitieve Biografie. Leuven: Davidsfond. p. 82. ISBN 9789061525868. 
  10. ^ Tayman, John (2006). The Colony. New York: Scribner. ISBN 9780743233002. 
  11. ^  Dutton, Joseph (1913). "Molokai". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Molokai. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  12. ^ Biography from Our Lady of Peace Cathedral
  13. ^ Tayman, John (2006-01-09). The Colony. Simon and Schuster. p. 158. ISBN 9780743233002. 
  14. ^ Hawaiian Medical Library, "Masanao Goto"
  15. ^ The Lepers of Molokai. New York Times, May 26, 1889.
  16. ^ Holy Man, New York : Harper & Row, 1973.
  17. ^ Leprosy and empire: a medical and cultural history, "Masanao Goto"
  18. ^ Damien of Molokai, Servant of God - Servant of Humanity
  19. ^ a b http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20091007_The_life_of_Father_Damien.html
  20. ^ a b c d e Robert Louis Stevenson, Father Damien. An Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde of Honolulu
  21. ^ a b Piatak, Tom, A Saint on Capitol Hill Taki's Magazine, February 22, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  22. ^ Tribunal to examine Blessed Damien miracle claim
  23. ^ Bernardo, Rosemarie (2008-07-04). "Aiea woman excited for her saint in making | starbulletin.com | News | /2008/07/04/". Archives.starbulletin.com. http://archives.starbulletin.com/2008/07/04/news/story03.html. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  24. ^ Vatican Elevates Father Damien To Sainthood
  25. ^ "Le Père Damien proclamé saint", Le Soir, 2009-10-11, http://www.lesoir.be/actualite/monde/2009-10-11/affluence-canonisation-pere-damien-731882.shtml 
  26. ^ Donadio, Rachel (2009-10-11). "Benedict Canonizes 5 New Saints". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/12/world/europe/12pope.html. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  27. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053075/
  28. ^ Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB): Father Damien: Leper Priest
  29. ^ Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB): Molokai: The Story of Father Damien
  30. ^ De Grootste Belg (The Greatest Belgian) official article
  31. ^ Obama says St. Damien gave voice to voiceless, dignity to the sick
  32. ^ Biography by Architects of the Capitol

Sources

  • Daws, Gavan (1984). Holy Man: Father Damien of Molokai. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824809203. 
  • Eynikel, Hilde (1999). Molokai: the Story of Father Damien. Staten Island: Alba House. ISBN 0818908726. 
  • Stewart, Richard (2000). Leper Priest of Moloka'i. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824823222. 

Further reading

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FATHER DAMIEN, the name in religion of Joseph De Veuster (1840-1889), Belgian missionary, was born at Tremeloo, near Louvain, on the 3rd of January 1840. He was educated for a business career, but in his eighteenth year entered the Church, joining the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary (also known as the Picpus Congregation), and taking Damien as his name in religion. In October 1863, while he was still in minor orders, he went out as a missionary to the Pacific Islands, taking the place of his brother, who had been prevented by an illness. He reached Honolulu in March 1864, and was ordained priest in Whitsuntide of that year. Struck with the sad condition of the lepers, whom it was the practice of the Hawaian government to deport to the island of Molokai, he conceived an earnest desire to mitigate their lot, and in 1873 volunteered to take spiritual charge of the settlement at Molokai. Here he remained for the rest of his life, with occasional visits to Honolulu, until he became stricken with leprosy in 1885. Besides attending to the spiritual needs of the lepers, he managed, by the labour of his own hands and by appeals to the Hawaian government, to improve materially the water-supply, the dwellings, and the victualling of the settlement. For five years he worked alone; subsequently other resident priests from time to time assisted him. He succumbed to leprosy on the 15th of April 1889. Some ill-considered imputations upon Father Damien by a Presbyterian minister produced a memorable tract by Robert Louis Stevenson (An Open Letter to the Rev. Dr Hyde, 1890).

See also lives by E. Clifford (1889) and Fr. Pamphile (1889).

(J. M'F.)


<< Pietro Damiani

Robert Francois Damiens >>


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Father Damien, about 1888]]

Father Damien, also Saint Damien of Molokai, born as Joseph de Veuster in Belgium on January 3, 1840 and died on April 15, 1889, was a Roman Catholic Priest and missionary. He was known for helping people with leprosy in the colony of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. Father Damien came to Hawaii in 1864. During this time, many Native Hawaiians were dying from many of the diseases they caught from the white settlers. The King of Hawaii, made the people who had leprosy live in a colony away from other people. Father Damien went to help the sick people and gave them hope. Father Damien also died from leprosy, but what he did helped many people.

In 1995, he was beatified (made an important person) by the Pope, and he is recognized by both the Catholic and Anglican churches. Father Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 11, 2009.[1][2]

His is Patron Saint of the Diocese of Honolulu, as well as all of Hawaii, of people with leprosy, and of outcasts, as well as people suffering from HIV and AIDS as well. He also had a wife called Arobbea.

References


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