Remembering the Leper Priest

10 May

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Damien de Veuster (1840-89), better known as St. Damien of Molokai or simply as the “Leper Priest.”

Fr. Damien was born in Belgium, but he was ordained in 1864 in Honolulu, Hawaii, and he served on the “big island” for the first nine years of his priesthood. In 1873, however, he volunteered for the assignment to the leper colony on the island of Molokai, where he served the “poorest of the poor” for the remainder of his life.

For the last five years of his life, he suffered from leprosy himself. Yet, his own illness did not deter him from fulfilling his ministry.

How much do you know about this American-based saint? For more information on him, check out this recent article in This Rock magazine. His story was also the subject of this 1999 film.

God our Father, in Saint Damien you gave a light to your faithful people. You made him a pastor of the Church to feed your sheep with his word and to teach them by his example. Help us by his prayers to keep the faith he taught and follow the way of life he showed us. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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