May 10 is the feast of St. Damien of Molokai, the Belgian missionary who volunteered to serve the people who had been banished to a government-sanctioned leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Mokokai.
The bishop who accompanied Fr. Joseph Damien de Veuster when the priest came to live among the lepers told the crowd that he had brought them “one who will be a father to you, and who loves you so much that … he does not hesitate to become one of you; to live and die with you.” Damien’s life was to become truly a sacrifice of love as he cared for those afflicted with leprosy, the disease ultimately consuming his own body.
This is from a letter that Fr. Damien wrote to his brother in 1873, about six months after arriving on Molokai:
“God has deigned to choose your unworthy brother to assist the poor people attacked by that terrible malady, so often mentioned in the Gospel—leprosy. For the last ten years this plague has been…
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