St. Damien of Molokai: Apostle of the Exiled
is the riveting account of how a humble Congregation of the Sacred
Hearts priest found his vocation in caring for these outcasts. The
poorly educated son of a hardworking, religious Belgian farm family,
Damien was thought to be ill suited for the priesthood. However, the
desire to serve God burned so fiercely in him that he took his vows at
the age of twenty.
missionary to Hawaii, Damien soon volunteered to become the permanent
chaplain to Molokai. There, victims of horrible disfigurement with the
promise of a lingering death, the lepers led a harsh existence. Father
Damien became their caregiver, companion and champion. though his
selfless ministry, he brought hope to the hopeless, ironically losing
his own life to leprosy.
Azure skies, lush vegetation, and sugar-white beaches: Hawaii brings
such idyllic scenes to mind. But hell invaded paradise when the
incurable disease leprosy was discovered there. An 1865 law segregated
lepers by forcibly exiling individuals - even children - to the island
of Molokai. It was onto these forlorn shores that Father Damien de
Veuster stepped in the spring of 1873.
In an age when an ever-increasing number of people suffer their own
personal exile on account of illness, handicap, or emotional distress,
the shinning example of Father Damien shows the true power of one
person and how, when anchored in God's love, one person can impact
individual lives - and indeed the world.
"The world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Molokai."
~ Mohandas Gandhi