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To: Salvation

Took Chris to Kaanapali (sp) when he was smaller and portable and we could see the Island Fr. Damian served on from our hotel room.

Ahhhhh memories of roasted pig and Poi Poi.

I also remember reading about the Nuns (nurses) who first arrived at the Island and found the horrid living conditions and all the work they did to clean up and make it habitable.

Don't remember the Sisters name.

7 posted on 05/10/2006 9:19:19 AM PDT by Global2010 (Life takes allot of Prayer and Grit)
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To: Global2010; Salvation; NYer; BearWash; All

This is the Article that I was talking about.

I have also included a Link from the original article. If you all want can read it at the original link.

May 3, 2006

Polish Missioner Buried Hailing Decades Of Service In Hindu Temple City

BHUBANESWAR, India (UCAN) -- Church leaders and local people are mourning the death of a Polish missioner whose decades of work among leprosy patients in eastern India moved many hearts.

Divine Word Father Marian Zelazek was 88 years old when he passed away on April 30, following a massive cardiac arrest at the facility he built for leprosy patients in the outskirts of Puri, a Hindu holy city in Orissa state.

His Karunalaya (house of mercy) Leprosy Center is 70 kilometers south of the state capital, Bhubaneshwar, which is 1,745 kilometers east of New Delhi.

About 600 people attended the missioner's funeral on May 2 in Jharsuguda, about 300 kilometers northwest of Bhubaneswar. He was buried there in the cemetery attached to the provincial house of the Divine Word Society.

During the requiem Mass, Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, a Divine Word Society confrere, eulogized the Polish missioner as a saintly witness of Christ's love to the poor and an example to other priests.

Soon after receiving word that Father Zelazek had died, the archbishop told UCA News that Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese had "lost a living saint ... an ideal priest who truly lived Gospel values."

Archbishop Cheenath recalled Father Zelazek saying he "died many times" during the five years he spent in Dachau concentration camp in World War II. The archbishop reported the missioner as also saying God gave him "yet another 50 years of life," so why should he "worry about anything, even death."

Father Zelazek was born on Jan. 30, 1918, in Poznan, Poland. He entered Religious life during World War II and, as a novice, was seized by the Nazis and sent to the Dachau camp. More than 30,000 people sent there reportedly were killed or died from the treatment they received in the camp during the war.

In 1950, two years after his ordination, Father Zelazek reached India. According to his confreres, he quickly established himself as a zealous missioner, skillful teacher and efficient vocation promoter, particularly among tribal Christians, with whom he worked at the Sambalpur mission.

in 1975, Father Zelazek was transferred from Sambalpur to work in a parish in Puri, in Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese. People afflicted with leprosy and fisher folk, both relegated to the bottom of society, were living there.

Father Zelazek decided to eradicate leprosy and to rehabilitate people with the disease then living along the roadsides. He eventually set up a "colony" or a settlement area for leprosy patients, and 1,500 people now live there.

Until he died 31 years later, the priest remained in the colony to take care of the people's spiritual, material and medical needs. Some of those cured of the disease while at the colony now live with their respective families.

Local Hindus once explained to UCA News that the Catholic priest had cured their misconception that leprosy, or Hansen's disease, is a curse from God and its victims are untouchables.

The priest set up a school for children of leprosy patients and a hospital. He also initiated income-generating programs such as bandage making, brickmaking, gardening, poultry raising, rope making, sewing and weaving.

In recognition of his work with leprosy patients, Father Zelazek was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 and 2003 but he did not win it.

Residents of the colony are grieving his passing. Nabarang Nalua, 52, describing the priest as their "savior and living god," told UCA News, "We have lost him forever, so we have lost our emotional support."

Others who also told UCA News how much they appreciated Father Zelazek include a Divine Word confrere, Father Richard Vaz, who said the Polish missioner won a place "in the hearts of the deprived lepers just as Jesus became the hope for the poor in his time." Father Joseph Topno, the Divine Word superior, called the late priest his society's "perfect follower of Christ." The provincial superior explained that "the Word was accomplished through him in the hearts of lepers," for whom he "gave his whole life."

B.C. Roy, president of the local Rotary Club, told UCA News that Rotary members were "shocked by the sudden demise of our beloved" fellow member. Roy described Father Zelazek as "a servant of God and friend of the poor."

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