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Bld. Damien Joseph de Veuster of Molokai ^ | 05-10-06 |

Posted on 05/10/2006 8:36:19 AM PDT by Salvation

Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us eternal joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

May 10, 2006 Month Year Season

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter


"If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my word. And my word is not my own: it is the word of the one who sent me."

Bl. Damien of Molokai
Joseph De Veuster, the future Father Damien, was born at Tremelo in Belgium, January 3rd, 1840. His was a large family and his father was a farmer-merchant. When his oldest brother entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts (called 'Picpus' after the street in Paris where its Generalate was located), then his father planned that Joseph should take charge of the family business. Joseph however, decided to become a religious himself. At the beginning of 1859 he entered the novitiate at Louvain, in the same house as his brother. There he took the name of Damien.

In 1863, his brother who was to leave for the mission in the Hawaiian Islands, became ill. Since preparations for the voyage had already been made, Damien obtained permission from the Superior General, to take his brother's place. He arrived in Honolulu on March 19th, 1864, where he was ordained to the priesthood the following May 21st. He immediately devoted himself, body and soul, to the difficult service of a "country missionary" on the island of Hawaii, the largest in the Hawaiian group.

At that time, the Hawaiian Government decided on a very harsh measure aimed at stopping the spread of "leprosy", the deportation to the neighboring island of Molokai, of all those infected by what was thought to be an incurable disease. The entire mission was concerned about the abandoned "lepers" and the Bishop, Louis Maigret, spoke to the priests about the problem. He did not want to send anyone "in the name of obedience", because he knew that such an order meant certain death. Four Brothers volunteered, they would take turns visiting and assisting the "lepers" in their distress. Damien was the first to leave on May 10th, 1873. At his own request and that of the lepers, he remained definitively on Molokai.

He brought hope to this hell of despair. He became a source of consolation and encouragement for the lepers, their pastor, the doctor of their souls and of their bodies, without any distinction of race or religion. He gave a voice to the voiceless, he built a community where the joy of being together and openness to the love of God gave people new reasons for living.

After he himself contracted the disease in 1885, he was able to identify completely with them: "We lepers". Father Damien was above all, a witness of the love of God for His people. He got his strength from the Eucharist: "lt is at the foot of the altar that we find the strength we need in our isolation..." It is there that he found for himself and for others the support and the encouragement, the consolation and the hope, he could, with a deep faith, communicate to the lepers. All that made him "the happiest missionary in the world", a servant of God, and a servant of humanity.

Having contracted "leprosy" himself, Fr. Damien died on April 15th, 1889, having served sixteen years among the lepers. His mortal remains were transferred in 1936 to Belgium where he was interred in the crypt of the church of the Congregation of Sacred Hearts at Louvain. His fame spread to the entire world. In 1938 the process for his beatification was introduced at Malines (Belgium): Pope Paul VI signed the Decree on the "heroicity of his virtues" on July 7th 1977.

In Father Damien, the Church proposes an example to all those who find sense for their life in the Gospel and who wish to bring the Good News to the poor of our time.

Excerpted from SSCC Website

Patron: Lepers.

Things to Do:

  • Be adventurous and prepare a Hawaiian luau in honor of Bl. Damien.

TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Charismatic Christian; Current Events; Eastern Religions; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; History; Islam; Judaism; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Orthodox Christian; Other Christian; Other non-Christian; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Religion & Science; Skeptics/Seekers; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: blessed; catholiccaucus; catholiclist; damienjoseph; deveuster; lepers; leprosy; molokai; saints
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To: Salvation; BearWash

I was in Law School in Philly also known as Philadelphia from 1997-1998.

That is almost 8 years back. It was a Law School in an Inner City Area which you could say was highly crime ridden. I will send you the name of the Law School via Freep Mail if you or Freeper Bearwash are interested.

I say this because both of you all as well as Freeper NYer are my best friends as well as other Catholic Freepers I am getting to know like Freeper Straight Vermonter, Nihil Obstat,Tax -Chick, Knitting a Conundrum, Sandyeggo, etc.

But, more importantly The Law School was run by Ultra Liberal Jews and Ultra Liberal African Americans who had issues with any student (J.D. or L.L.M.) who wrote any papers from a Conservative/Catholic Perspective.

They would harass them to no end and ultimately force them to write the papers from their Liberal Perspective.

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To: Salvation

My grandfather's German cousin joined this same order in Louvain with the express purpose of following Fr. Damien to Molokai. He was not a priest, but a brother of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart. He arrived on Molokai in 1895 after Damien's death, but he served the lepers for 45 years, the longest serving missionary on the island. He retired in Hololulu and never contracted the disease.

It's amazing for me to discover this link to Molokai in my own family since I have been fascinated with Damien deVeuster since I was a small child. Only after I began family history research did I link up to my German ancestors and their progeny. Which is how I discovered this link. Later I found a small 2-sentence item in the local newspaper which mentioned my great-grandfather receiving a letter from his nephew on Molokai about the mission there. Since then I try to convey to my younger relatives the importance of serving and how their cousin served the lepers of Molokai. Today's children really need to learn about true heroes.

22 posted on 05/11/2006 5:13:06 AM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: All
By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Father Damien: an open letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde of Honolulu

23 posted on 05/11/2006 10:23:46 AM PDT by dighton
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To: Gumdrop

What a fantastic heritage you have in the story of your grandfather's cousin! Blessed indeed was he!

Bump to your idea of passing on the notion of serving others! God bless you!

24 posted on 05/11/2006 10:41:54 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
There is a new book about Molokai that they discussed recently on C-Span. It includes information about Damian.


And the head of the sisters who went there to nurse is also up for canonization.

25 posted on 05/11/2006 3:30:11 PM PDT by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: LadyDoc

BTTT on the Optional Memorial of Blessed Damien de Veuster, May 10, 2007!

26 posted on 05/10/2007 9:48:32 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

My husband and I took the mule ride down into Kalaupapa a few years back and took the tour of the place. What an experience! I’m not Catholic, but even I was rooting for the guy for sainthood when we finished the tour. It’s a beautiful spot, hard to imagine the horrors that occured there in years past. The entire day was the closest I’ve had to a true religious experience in years.

27 posted on 05/10/2007 9:55:17 AM PDT by Spyder
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To: All

Blessed Damien de Veuster, SS.CC.

Apostle of the Eucharist

Young Father Damien

Father Damien, known the world over as the priest of the lepers on the island of Molokai, was truly an apostle of the Eucharist. This love he had for the Eucharist was transmitted to the lepers. He brought them to closer union with their Maker through the beautiful liturgies he organized, frequent Benediction, and Eucharistic Processions.

It was when he set up numerous adoration chapels that he experienced the depth of the lepers' faith and devotion. Related to the establishment of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration on the island, Father Damien wrote to his provincial in 1888, "This is the fifteenth year we observe night adoration..., all of us lepers."

Father Damien lived for the Eucharist. It was this strong apostleship that filled the lives of the lepers. Their Eucharistic adoration was an edifying homage to the Lord. He wrote to his brother, "Without the constant presence of our Divine Master, I would never be able to cast my lot with that of the lepers."

28 posted on 05/09/2008 9:13:58 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

For Those Whose Lives Have Not Turned Out As They Planned

Memorial of Blessed Damien of Molokai, Priest


I posted this reflection for the feast of Blessed Damien last May 10th, but in reviewing it, I see that its message has become, if anything, even more relevant to my own life. New readers of Vultus Christi may find it helpful.

When Providence Writes One's Life

Blessed Damien is, I think, a very suitable patron for those who lives have not turned out as they planned. By the time a child has reached adolescence, he has already dreamed dreams and nourished hopes for his life. The vivid reveries of little boys and girls take shape in a kind of autobiography written in the imagination and lived ahead of time in a world of fantasy. In that world no desire is broken, no hope dashed, no dream unfulfilled, but rarely do the life stories we write for ourselves correspond to those written for us by Providence. Events and circumstances — illness, loss, changes in fortune, failure — shatter dreams, close some doors and open others. The chance encounter with one person or the discovery of a particular book can change the direction of a life, leading to unexpected twists and turns.

The Designs of the Heart of Jesus

God intervenes in a thousand little ways, and sometimes dramatically, to realize in every generation “the designs and thoughts of His Heart” (cf. Ps 32:11). “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is 55:8-9).

Yes to the Plan of God

The life story of each of us written in the Heart of God surpasses by far anything we could have imagined or written for ourselves. When one realizes that one’s life is not unfolding as one thought it would, two responses are possible. One can refuse the path opened by God, “kicking against the goads” (Ac 26:14), or one can say “Yes” to it.

Blessed Damien said “Yes” to God’s astonishing plan for him, a plan that led him from Belgium to Hawaii and, after ten years, to the dreaded leper colony of Molokai. The suffering Christ called Damien to a costly, sacrificial love, and to configuration with himself. He became “as one from whom men hide their faces” (Is 53:3), identified fully with the suffering Christ and with the lepers he served.

A Benedictine Without A Monastery

As a religious of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Father Damien’s life was based on the Rule of Saint Benedict. Without living in a monastery and without the benefits and protection of the cloister, Father Damien found himself living the Rule of Saint Benedict on Molokai in ways prepared for him by the Providence of God. “To relieve the poor. To clothe the naked. To visit the sick. To bury the dead. To give help in trouble. To console the sorrowful. To avoid worldly behaviour. To set nothing before the love of Christ” (RB 4:14-21). “The care of the sick,” says Saint Benedict in another place, “is to be given priority over everything else, so that they are indeed served as Christ would be served, since he himself said, ‘I was sick and you visited me’” (RB 36:1-2).


Eucharistic Adoration

Father Damien was magnetized by the mystery of the Most Blessed Sacrament. He drew the strength to love and to serve the suffering members of his Mystical Body from adoration of the Eucharistic Body of Christ. To his brother he wrote, "Without the constant presence of our Divine Master, I would never be able to cast my lot with that of the lepers." Father Damien built chapels all over Molokai; he established perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament there. In 1888 he wrote to his provincial, “ This is the fifteenth year we observe night adoration . . . all of us lepers.”

Never To Despair of God's Mercy

In the end, all the “thoughts and designs” of the Heart of Christ were realized in the life and death of Blessed Father Damien. His feast invites us to say “Yes” to our lives, not as we would have them be, but as it has pleased to God to write them and as He is writing them even now. Say “Yes” to the triumph of love in your heart and in your life. Say “Yes,” and following Blessed Damien in Saint Benedict’s “school of the Lord’s service” (RB Pro: 45), “never despair of God’s mercy” (RB 4:74).

29 posted on 05/09/2008 4:58:58 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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