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Monday, April 14, 2008

Father Joseph Damien

15 April 1889. Joseph de Veuster, popularly known as "Father Damien," dies a leper in the island of Molokai where he lovingly ministered to a leper colony for about 16 years. April 15 is Hawaii's "Father Damien Day." [More about him here.]

In his article, "The Price of Sacrifice," Evangelical theologian Ravi Zacharias writes a touching piece about this celebrated Belgian Catholic priest. The following is an excerpt from this essay:

Joseph Damien was a nineteenth-century missionary who ministered to people with leprosy on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. Those suffering grew to love him, revering the sacrificial life he lived out before them. But even he did not know the price he would eventually pay.

One morning before he was to lead their daily worship, he poured some boiling water into a cup when it swirled out and fell on his bare foot. It took him a moment to realize that he had not felt any sensation. Gripped by the sudden fear of what this could mean, he poured more water on the same spot. No feeling whatsoever. Damien immediately knew what had happened. He walked tearfully to deliver his sermon, and no one at first noticed the difference in his opening line. You see, he normally greeted them, "My fellow believers." But this morning he began with, "My fellow lepers."


Kelila said...

I just pray that i would have a heart like his.

scott saboy said...

yup, one of a kind. me? still struggling to get agape seared into my heart. Thanks for visiting...

David Marciniak said...

Fr. Damien is my hero! I have loved him since a teenager. I hope to be in Rome for his canonization in October!