Wednesday, 10 May 2017

# Saints

Saint Damien Molokai




The 10th of May is the feast day of Saint Damien Molokai. He is the patron saint of people with leprosy.

Saint Damien Molokai, also known as Saint Damien de Veuster, lived between 1840 and 1889. He was a priest from Belgium and belonged to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. He wanted to be a missionary like Saint Francis Xavier. He was then sent as a missionary to minister in Hawaii, to replace his brother who was unable to go due to illness. The island was suffering from an epidemic of unknown diseases brought by foreigners, including leprosy. The island was quarantined as a leper colony and lepers were sent to the island in exile. The local bishop wanted a priest to minister to the 800 people on the island. However, the bishop also knew that this will be a death sentence for the priest as the disease was highly contagious.  He asked the priests for volunteers and Father Damien was the first after serving in Hawaii for nine years. He began his ministry to the lepers in 1873. He built a church on the island and improved the morale and joy among the people. For 15 years he served the Kalaupapa leper colony and in 1889 he died of leprosy at the age of 49. He is known as the martyr of charity and the Apostle to the lepers. He was canonised in the Year of Priests in 2009.

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