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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Damien of Molokai

By Fr. Richard Veras

Saint Damien of Hawaii’s Molokai is a great witness for charity, for he laid down his life for his friends. Damien was the Belgian priest who volunteered to live and minister among lepers in the colony on the island of Molokai, and who did just that from 1873 until he himself contracted the disease and died from it in1889. He is perhaps an even greater witness to the continual incarnation of Christ through the Church . . .

Molokai was filled with sons, daughters, wives and husbands whose leprosy had separated them from their families. For many, love had become something distant, something only to dream about or lament. Damien knew these poor souls needed someone who was their priest, who lived life with them. He moved to the island and built a church and rebuilt the humanity of those whose suffering was much deeper than the flesh. He recognized the face of Christ in the deformed faces of his new friends . . .

Fr. Richard Veras is the pastor of the Church of Saint Rita in Staten Island, NY. He is the author of Jesus of Israel: Finding Christ in the Old Testament. He is a regular contributor to the Magnificat.
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