Saint Damien of Molokai, also known as Father Damien, was a Catholic priest from Belgium who dedicated his life to serving leprosy patients on the island of Molokai in Hawaii.

He became known for his compassion, courage, and selflessness, and was respected and loved by the patients and the community alike.

Here are six things to know and share about the incredible life of Saint Damien of Moloka’i:

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

1) Jozef De Veuster was born into a farming family in the Belgian town of Tremlo in 1840.

2) He joined the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary instead of taking over the family business.

His older brother joined the same order!

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

3) In 1873, he volunteered to serve on the leper colony of Molokai.

He was sent to Honolulu in place of his sickly older brother in 1863. He was ordained a priest in 1864.

4) He drew strength from Eucharistic Adoration and the Holy Mass.

His work helped to raise the lepers up from their physical sufferings, while also making them aware of their worth as beloved children of God.

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

5) Died of leprosy during Holy Week on April 15, 1889.

Fr. Damien left a lasting impact on those he served through his work and activism on their behalf.

6) Considered a saint for the forgotten and abandoned.

Pope Benedict XVI canonized him in 2009.

Here is a prayer for the intercession of Saint Damien of Moloka’i:

Damien, brother on the journey,
happy and generous missionary,
who loved the Gospel more than your own life,
who for love of Jesus left your family,
your homeland, your security, and your dreams.

Teach us to give our lives with joy like yours,
to be in solidarity with the outcasts of our world,
to celebrate and contemplate the Eucharist
as the source of our own commitment.

Help us to love to the very end and,
in the strength of the Spirit,
to persevere in compassion for the poor and forgotten
so that we might be good disciples of Jesus and Mary.


Prayer Source—Catholic Hawaii

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