Saint Damien de Veuster (Moloka'i) Patron of those with Hansen's Disease - May 10
In 1865 the Hawaiian government created a quarantine for the islanders suffering from Hansen's Disease or leprosy, on the peninsula of Kalawao on the island of Moloka'i. Cut off from their friends and families by the harsh coast on one side and precipitous mountains on the other, the lepers settled into life in primitive huts. With no hope for cure, and only the ravages of disease ahead of them, many became desperate; vises were rife.
Eight years later, the vicar apostolic of Hawaii accepted the offer of a thirty-three year old priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, Damien de Veuster, who wished to serve among the lepers...
Damien was the son of Belgin farmers...he bandaged their stinking sores and buried their dead. He taught them to build, to garden, to sing. He created a school, an orphanage, and a little chapel where Jesus could be with them always.
The lepers became Damien's people, such that it seemed beautiful to him, when, in 1885, he discovered in his own body the signs of the disease. He died after much suffering in 1889. (Excerpt taken from the Magnificat magazine March 2017, Vol 18, Number 13)