Father Damien

Father Damien was a Belgian priest who went to serve in what was considered a godforsaken place—the island of Molokai, where Hawaiians with Hansen’s disease (what was then termed leprosy) were quarantined. Damien lived and shared food with and cared for others, at great cost to himself. After twelve years of service, he contracted leprosy, and four years later he died. He wrote his brother at the end of his life, saying, “I am gently going to my grave. It is the will of God, and I thank Him very much for letting me die of the same disease and in the same way as my lepers. I am very satisfied and very happy” (Vital Jourdan, The Heart of Father Damien [Milwaukee: Bruce Pub Co., 1955], 339). Damien submitted himself to a forsaken people, even to death.