Saint Damien

Current mood:  cheerful
Category: News and Politics


It’s my turn to blog at Seven Wicked Writers today and here is what I posted:
Yesterday was a very big day for the people of Hawai’i but none more than 11 special men and women who have fought valiantly for Father Damien, the ‘leper priest of Molokai’ to be recognized by the Catholic Church. On the register for Sainthood, but somehow always passed over in spite of his courage and unfathomable love for a people ravaged by a dreadful disease, Hawaiians have never forgotten.

They have fought for Damien, who served the abandoned men and women on the island of Molokai for 16 years until he himself fell victim to Hansen’s Disease at the age of 49 in1889.

Despite my misgivings about the new Pope, I must apologize for judging him for his youthful Nazi activities. I feared the worst but he has surprised me over and over again, particularly in acknowledging Damien’s sacrifice and true holiness with the ultimate gift of canonization on October 11.

Last night, my family tried to get tickets for the dinner at the Waikiki Sheraton, designed to raise money for the 11 men and women still residing as patients at Kalaupapa, the hospital and home created by Damien for his flock. All 11 residents will fly to Rome for the services they thought would never happen.

I’m told the organizers of last night’s event expected 300. Over a thousand people turned up. We were among those sadly turned away but we still donated money toward airfare and I badly wanted my goddaughter Eleanna to meet some of the eleven patients who worked so hard for Father Damien’s Sainthood.

She met several of them, including the amazing Gloria Marks who at 71, has more energy than I ever will. To see the way Eleanna engaged with her, telling her that she visited Kalaupapa with me and how clearly and strongly she felt Father Damien’s presence, made me proud that 129 years after Father Damien left us all behind, his legacy lives on. 

Mrs. Marks was onverwhelmed, beyond words, that there were many who wish her and the other 11 so well.

Her husband, one of the staunchest lobbyists for Father Damien, recently passed away so last night was difficult for her. I think seeing so many there to support her and the others helped just a little and I hope when she returns, she writes a book about this entire incredible journey.

Father Damien will be officially known as the Saint for Hansen’s Disease, HIV and AIDs.

He leaves behind more than the 8,000 people he helped tend during and after his time. He is a reminder of what it means to really be a Christian and how at heart, many of us feel lost and abandoned.

I will be there in spirit that day in October when 11 brave people march to the Vatican in honor of a man. A good and wonderful man and genuine hero.

Saint Damien.

Aloha oe,


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