St. Damien of Molokai, also called Father Damien, original name Joseph de Veuster, Belgian priest who devoted his life to missionary work among the Hawaiian lepers and became a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Moved by the miserable condition of the lepers whom the Hawaiian government had deported to Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai, he volunteered to take charge of the settlement. His self-sacrificing service to those whom the world had rejected in revulsion eventually led to his own death from leprosy. St. Damien of Molokai Icon is the patron of lepers, sufferers of AIDS, and outcasts. He served as both pastor and physician to the colony and undertook many projects to better the conditions there. He improved water and food supplies and housing and founded two orphanages, receiving help from other priests for only 6 of his 16 years on Molokai. In 1884 he contracted leprosy and refused to leave for treatment. He was originally buried at the colony, as he requested, but his remains were transferred to Leuven in 1936. His right hand was returned to his original grave in 1995. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.
St. Damien of Molokai Novena Prayers
Thank you Lord Jesus for the powerful witness of love that you provided in St. Damien of Molokai. I pray that I will have the same love toward all I meet, especially those who are different than me.
St. Damien, you were a spiritual minister and leader to people with leprosy. Thus, you were not too proud to work with the most outcast members of society. Help me to remember those in my own life and culture who are seen as outsiders. Remind me to invite them into my world to make them feel welcome and respected.
Keep me from treating those who are different as unworthy of love and respect. Help me to remember that all people are equal in God’s eyes.
As the patron of lepers, I bring to you in my heart all those who suffer from terminal illnesses and all of those who feel outcast from society in some way. Please also pray for these intentions I hold in my heart:
(State your intentions here)
St. Damien, Pray for Us!
Saint Damien Prayer
Damien, brother on the journey, happy and generous missionary, who loved the Gospel more than your own life, who for love of Jesus left your family, your homeland, your security and your dreams.
Teach us to give our lives with joy like yours, to be in solidarity with the outcasts of our world, to celebrate and contemplate the Eucharist as the source of our own commitment.
Help us to love to the very end and, in the strength of the Spirit, to persevere in compassion for the poor and forgotten so that we might be good disciples of Jesus and Mary.
Father of mercy, who gave us in Saint Damien a shining witness of love for the poorest and most abandoned, grant that, by his intercession, as faithful witnesses of the heart of your Son Jesus, we too may be servants of the most needy and rejected. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
St. Damien Joseph de Veuster of Molokai
He was born on January 3, 1840 in Tremelo, Belgium. His birth name was Jozef De Veuster. His parents were Joannes Franciscus De Veuster and Anne-Catherine Wouters. He entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in Leuvens and there he took the name of Brother Damianus or Damien. Later Damien was sent as a missionary to Hawaii. At Hawaii Damien was ordained a priest on May 21, 1864 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Hawaii. At that time many people in Hawaii were affected by contagious diseases especially leprosy. The persons affected by leprosy were quarantined in a colony at Kalaupapa. Fr. Damien was the first priest who expressed his willingness to work among the lepers, when willingness was called for by the bishop. Fr. Damien arrived at the Kalaupapa leper colony on May 10, 1873, where 816 lepers were living. In addition to doing priestly work, he dressed the ulcers of the lepers, built homes and furniture for them and also made coffins and dug graves for the dead lepers. He was contracted with leprosy due to his service among the lepers in the year 1884 but he still worked hard for the lepers. He was treated by Dr. Masana Goto, a Japanese leprologist at Honolulu. To honor the selfless service of Fr. Damien to the lepers, the King David Kalakaua bestowed the honor of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Kalakaua on him and the Princess Lydia visited the settlement to present the medal. When a sister Simplicia Hue was lay dying from a deadly intestinal disease, the sister started a novena to Fr. Damien. Due to the intercession of Fr. Damien, the pain and symptoms were vanished overnight. Another miraculous cure at the intercession of Fr. Damien was for a Hawaiian woman Audrey Toguchi from cancer. Both miracles were accepted by the Holy See. Damien Joseph was beatified on June 4, 1995 by Pope John Paul-II and canonized by Pope Benedict-XVI on October 11, 2009.