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[Blessed Joseph de Veuster]
Also known as
Father Damien
15 April
Son of a small farmer. Studied at the College of Braine-le-Comte. Joined the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Picpus Fathers) on 7 October 1860, taking the name Damien. Seminarian in Paris, France. Volunteered for missionary work while still in seminary, and was sent to Hawaii. Ordained in Honolulu on 24 May 1864. Missionary on islands where his single parish was the size of all of his native Belgium. Resident priest in the leper colony on Molokai where for years he worked alone to minister to the patients' spiritual and medical needs. His work turned a wretched dump for the unwanted into a real community with the best treatment of the day, and patients who lived strong spiritual lives. He contracted leprosy in 1885, and though severely crippled by the disease, Father Damien worked until the end.
3 January 1840 on the family farm at Tremeloo, Belgium
15 April 1889 at Molokai, Hawaii from leprosy; buried next to Saint Philomena Church, Molokai, Hawaii; interred in the cathedral at Antwerp, Belgium in 1936
Name Meaning
whom the Lord adds (Joseph)
1977 by Pope Paul VI
3 June 1995 by Pope John Paul II
Additional Information
Catholic Online
Find A Grave
Heroes Every Child Should Know
Catholic Encyclopedia
Kalaupapa National Historial Park
Saint Michael's Center
Saints Alive
New Catholic Dictionary

2 posted on 05/10/2006 8:40:23 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ...
Saint of the Day Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Saint of the Day Ping List.

3 posted on 05/10/2006 8:44:24 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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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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