Skip to comments.Finally, It's Official: Molokai's Hero = Hawaii's Saint
Posted on 07/05/2008 4:39:16 PM PDT by NYer
"You gotta have faith," said the 80-year-old Aiea woman, who was cured of a rare form of cancer after she prayed to Father Damien De Veuster.It bears repeating that the saint-to-be's longtime collaborator and, after his death, successor as lead caretaker of the Molokai colony, the New York native Mother Marianne Cope, was beatified in 2005.
Canonization awaits for Damien now that Pope Benedict XVI has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Belgian priest, who cared for leprosy patients in Kalaupapa. The pontiff agreed with the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints that Toguchi's recovery from her illness defied medical explanation.
Toguchi, a retired social studies teacher and granddaughter of a leprosy patient who had been banished to Molokai, said Damien is deserving of sainthood.
"He has always been special to me. From when I was a little kid, I used to hear stories about him. I grew up with people around me who talked about him a great deal," she said.
In 1997, Toguchi was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a cancer that arises in fat cells.
She underwent surgery a year later. A tumor the size of a fist was removed from the side of her left thigh and buttock. Unfortunately, the cancer spread to her lungs.
Her physician, Dr. Walter Chang, told her, "Nobody has ever survived this cancer. It's going to take you."
So she visited Damien's grave site with her two sisters and prayed to the priest, who died in 1889. "Please, please pray for me," she said....
A month later, Chang noticed the cancer was shrinking. In four months it was gone.
Chang, astonished, asked what she had done. She told him, adding, "You just gotta trust. You gotta have faith."
Toguchi said she plans to travel to Rome with her husband of more than 50 years, Yukio, and one of their two sons for the canonization. The date has yet to be set.
Others in the Roman Catholic community in Hawaii are also ecstatic.
"I think it's with great elation that we, who have been praying so hard and ardently for Father Damien's canonization, can breathe a sigh of relief," said the Rev. Christopher Keahi, head of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Hawaii, of which Father Damien was a part. "Now we can look forward to the canonization in Rome."
Looking forward to this canonization.
James A Michener mentioned Brother Damien in his book, Hawaii...
He had courage...
That is who I chose as my confirmation Patron Saint a year ago.
Why? I can relate to the critism he got from those in power saying he was CRAZY for caring for the Lepers.
I was in Hawaii about 10 years ago and I went out to Molokai. You have to go by boat and then there’s a little (and I mean little!) airplane that takes you over the island and down the cliffs to the edge of the sea, which was where the leper colony is located.
It was an incredibly touching and beautiful spot, very harsh, though, and I can’t imagine how those people felt, exiled to the bottom of high basalt cliffs (sort of like the Palisades, actually, but higher). I guess they just felt they were lucky they had any place to live. And their priest stayed with them, no matter what.
I felt that it was a real privilege to get to go there.
You can also go down the cliffs by mule, btw, but one of the mules had just fallen the week before, so they cancelled the mule rides for a few weeks. I would assume they have resumed, but actually, the little tiny plane, which they balanced by putting bundles of newspapers into compartments on the wings, was pretty adventurous itself!
Actually his brother also a Priest was supposed to take the mission of Leper Island but was detered I think by illness.
Would have to go dig out my report I did for Adult Catechism.
So that he actually was not canonized when I chose him but I believe Father said if it was a certain time in history that a non canonized person served it was ok.
“Beatified in 1995, the news gives Stateside Catholicism its seventh product raised to the honors of the altar, and is notable on a global level given the widespread devotion to Bl Damien as unofficial patron of HIV/AIDS patients.”
Fr. Damien had leprosy. How did HIV/AIDS get into this? Are our saints now trapped into political correctness? Fr. Damien was anything but politically correct.
And let us not forget the dedicated Sisters/Nuns who went there first to clean up the filth these suffering humans had come to live in due to innability to care for themselves medically and otherwise.
Mother Marianne is from Utica, NY. (Originally from Germany until age 2)
I went to Kalaupapa about 20 years ago. Went by plane to the airport and then by car to and all over Kalaupapa. Went to the museum, Fr. Damien’s Church, St. Philomena’s, Saw Fr. Damien’s and Mother Maryann’s and other Sisters’ graves. The stories of their caring for and those poor, suffering, outcast people had me in tears. It also should be noted that before Fr. Damien got the leper colony assignment he was a Priest for all the islands. He walked over so much lava it ruined his feet. It was he who supervised the bulding of the many-colored Church which burned a few years ago when volcanic lava engulfed it. The people of the parish wanted it painted many colors. Believe it was the Church featured in John Ford/John Wayne’s, “Donovan’s Reef”.
Correction: Mother Marianne.
Great news as he no doubt deserves this honor.
BTW there is a great movie about his story:
Molokai: The Story Of Father Damien
I have photos of my grandfather’s first cousin, who was so impressed with Fr. Damien, that he joined the Sacred Heart Order in Belgium so he could go to Molokai to work with the lepers. My cousin was born in Germany, and he became a Brother (not a priest), and arrived at the leper colony in 1995. He served there for 45 years, being the longest missionary on the island. Blessed Damien was already deceased when my Grandpa’s cousin arrived there. So, I have always had a soft place in my heart for Damien deVeuster.
Perhaps Damien became the patron of AIDs/HIV patients because they are the outcasts of the day.
However, since AIDs is spread primarily from bad choices in lifestyles, it regretfully seems to be PC.. Still, sinners do need patrons and heroes too.
The Catholic Church believes in healing and caring for the sick, regardless of how they got that way.
When I was younger and a radical leftist, I was one of the few straight guys in the D.C. area doing AIDS volunteer work.
I saw quite a few of the gays involved bashing the Catholic Church. Then I met nuns and monks involved in caring for AIDS patients. This was around 1990 when the AIDS cocktail was a few years away and AIDS still meant a certain (and usually slow and painful) death. Even then, the Catholics doing the worked looked to Father Damien a role model. One of the orders of nuns helping AIDS patients called itself the “Damien Ministries”, for example.
(Incidentally, the bashing of religion was one of many reasons I turned away from the left. I thought the religious workers were doing so much and getting so little credit from the AIDS activists. But that’s another story.)
It is perfectly fine to choose a 'Venerable' or 'Blessed' for Confirmation. In fact, the current trend is to simply stick with your Baptismal name. In some of the more 'progressive' dioceses, one may also use an invented name. When I taught the confirmandi in one of those parishes, I insisted they pick the name of a saint (or veneralbe or blessed), write a report and share it with their classmates. In doing their research, some chose saints from the first centuries. It was beautiful to hear those names called out at Confirmation, a reminder to all present of these witnesses to the faith.
That is exactly what KV and I were assigned to do, research and write a report then share it and turn it in to Father.
KV chose Santo Nino Ancho who is considered the Lordes Child of Spain (I think it was).
His choice has a great fabled history as it were.
KV has a love of Hispanic/Spanish culture the language ect.
He would not favor among many here on this forum as he looks more at the humanity of the poor then the crime rate of those here illegally. Or something like that.
I kept all our Catichism work/study in the nap sack we use to pack in every week and BOY the Luau we had pig and all for our Confirmation party was a wonderful event. Pig and all!
The Santo Nino de Atocha is a beautiful devotion, originating in Spain in the late middle ages.
My family is involved in the Hispanic Ministry in our parish, and we absolutely love it. Our Spanish-speaking congregation includes people from many parts of Latin America and from Spain. And they've all been very kind to this Midwestern Anglo family with limited Spanish skills :-). If we can't communicate, we just grab the nearest teenager to translate!
Yes that is the proper name.
KV put up that pic with the official Spanish framing on a wall high up so he can see it.
Also carries the Key chain on his wheelchair for traveling safety prayers.
The really cool thing is the sky light above his bed at times lets in the moon light and it shines right on Santo Nino like around 1am ish. Totally unplanned.
Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux is considered a patronness of AIDS patients, even though she died of tuberculosis. She’s also patronness of missions, even though she never left the Carmel monastery. There doesn’t always need to be a direct connection.
Wow, that is cool! You and KV have some of the right people on your side.