Honolulu, Hawaii, Apr 11, 2010 / 05:14 am (CNA).- This Thursday is the feast day of St. Damien de Veuster, better known as St. Damien of Molokai. This year, the feast takes on new significance as it is marks the first celebration of the former blessed’s feast since his October 11, 2009 canonization. Damien de Veuster was born in Belgium to a poor farming family. Answering God’s call, he joined the Fathers of the Sacred Heart, and spent the rest of his life as a missionary in Hawaii.
After being ordained in 1864, Fr. Damien was sent to the peninsula of Kalawao on Molokai, an isolated area of the Hawaiian island where the panicked government of the time quarantined people suspected of having leprosy. Arriving in 1873, he lived on the island for the rest of his life, dying in 1889 of the very disease whose suffering he sought to alleviate in others.