Saturday, October 10, 2009

Father Damien: The man became a saint

As a regular visitor to the Hawaiian island, the legend of Father Damien always fascinate me. I have read a few biographies about him. On this day that he will be canonized, it is good to be reminded that no man is perfect.

'We Lepers'

As the Roman Catholic Church recognizes Hawaii's hero as a saint, what should we think about his chief posthumous critic?

It has been a good year for my old home state of Hawaii: it started the year with one of its own becoming President, and on October 11 one of its most famous heroes will officially become a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.


Even among Hawaii’s most Protestant Protestants, Damien de Veuster is praised as a man who exemplified incarnational, sacrificial ministry. The Belgian priest did not first go to the islands to minister to the Hansen's disease victims of the Kalaupapa colony on Molokai, but in 1873 he eagerly volunteered to minister.

“My Lord, remembering that I was placed under the pall on the day of my religious profession, thereby to learn voluntary death is the beginning of new life,” he told his bishop, “here I am, ready to bury myself alive among these unfortunate people, several of whom are personally known to me.”

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  1. I enjoyed the movie based in his life ...

  2. hi Paul,

    Saw the movie too. A bit over dramatised for my taste. Reminds me of the movie Hawaii starring Julie Andrews. Also about a missionary couple, based on James Michener's very thick novel. Did you watch that?