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Father Damien
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Religious Figure
    (January 3, 1840-April 15, 1889)
    Born in Tremelo, Belgium
    Birth name was Jozef de Veuster
    Roman Catholic missionary to the Hawaiian leper colony on Molokai
    Beatified by Pope John Paul II (1995)
    Vatican announced he will be canonized on October 11, 2009
    Will be patron saint of Hawaii, outcasts, and people with leprosy and/or HIV
    He went to Hawaii as a replacement for his brother, who had become too sick to make the journey.
    Presbyterian minister C. M. Hyde denounced him as a charlatan, writing, ‘The simple truth is, he was a coarse, dirty man, headstrong and bigoted.’
    After his beatification, he was exhumed, and his hand was cut off his body and sent to Hawaii as a relic.
    Anyone else find it strange to have a saint sharing a name with the antichrist from the ‘Omen’ movies?
    Novelist Robert Louis Stevenson, also a Presbyterian, wrote an open letter rebutting Rev. Hyde’s claims.
    He went to Molokai despite the risk of contracting leprosy himself.
    In addition to his religious duties, he bandaged sores, built houses and dug graves.
    After being diagnosed with leprosy, he continued working vigorously to ensure the programs he created would continue after his death.
    Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The political world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Molokai. It is worthwhile to look for the sources of such heroism.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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