Monday, May 10, 2021

Saint Damien

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka’i. He was a Catholic priest who chose to live among the lepers quarantined in the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i. He taught them the faith, helped them build roads, a school, cared for them, bound their wounds, ate with them, and dug their graves. With his leadership they built the Parish Church of St. Philomena 

which still stands today.

An American writer, Charles Warren Stoddard, was a witness to the changes Father Damien brought to Moloka’i. When he visited the first time before the priest arrived, the place was in squalor but when he returned, he found two villages with rows of white houses, a decent hospital, a graveyard, and two orphanages. 

One day, 11 years after Father Damien arrived, he realized he contracted leprosy when he spilled hot water on his foot and could not feel anything. He continued to serve there faithfully till his death in 1889. 

The people of Molokai wanted Father Damien buried in Molokai for he was one of them. He touched their lives, and cared for them. But he was originally from Belgium and the Belgians wanted their hero back. In 1936, his body was transferred to Belgium. The people of Molokai continued to petition, and in 1995, his right hand was returned to Moloka’i for burial. 

We may not have Saint Damien’s heroic unselfishness, nor his strength to sacrifice his life for others, but we too should find a way to touch the lives of others, to be Jesus to them. 

As Mother Teresa said, “At the end of life, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in’.” 

During this pandemic, we have many opportunities to give food to the hungry. Parishes, schools, villages, neighbors, etc. have organized and set up community pantries. We can give our loaves and fishes and we can be sure God will multiply them. It is so heartwarming to see taho vendors, delivery boys, construction workers, giving what they can. 

1 comment:

I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy