Father Damien, Now a Saint


From the newspaper article written by RLS – a Presbyterian rebutting an attack on Father Damien by Reverend Hyde:

Oh and we do remember Mr. Hyde in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” – using Hyde’s name in yet one more jab.

I have more to write about Father Damien but I need to go at this time.



Believe his body was sent back to Belgium in 1938. I think it should be returned to Hawaii to the people he served and loved.


For more about RLS rebuttal of Rev. Hyde – see
I think it rather remarkable how clearly RLS saw that it would be at least a hundred years before Father Damien would be a Saint – and yet he did think it would happen. And he accurately also saw how little Rev. Hyde would be remembered.

[quote=Mahatma Gandhi]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.

[quote=wikipedia.org]Fr. 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.

Apparently it is true – that those living in Belgium or Hawaii (or who had previously lived there) know about Fr. Damien more. And many others just do not know much or seem to care very much. His story was indelibly recorded in my mind as I heard my tour guide (a leper living there) tell me near the Kalawao Catholic Church in August 1976. Since first hearing about Fr. Damien, I have always hungered to hear more – and have read what I could when I found something to read.

I figure that it is true – what President Obama said – that many times he also heard stories of Father Damien as he grew up in Hawaii. American Presidents have not previously remarked about canonization of Catholic Saints. However since Obama having grew up in Hawaii and was familiar with the many Hawaiian stories of leprosy, I think it is easy for me to see how it is really not possible not to make any comment. Stories of Fr. Damien strike quite deeply when you have seen the place, the people, the lepers and the disease. I cannot keep myself quiet about it either. I have been thinking about Fr. Damien for many years. And leprosy in his day was far worse than what I saw in 1976.



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