Monday, May 9, 2011



Father of the Lepers

Father Damien was a priest who worked amongst the lepers in Molokai. He travelled there so he could administer the sacraments to them. Because he was strong he was able to do a lot. He celebrated Mass, heard confessions and baptized people. He became their pastor.

Fr Damien was sent to Molokai a few years after he was ordained a priest, so he was only a young priest when he started his ministry. When he got there, he felt sorry for all of the lepers because they were in a terrible state. They lived in filthy houses and they were not cared for physically. However, he was filled with joy when he saw the island chapel called "The Church of St Philomena," but when he went inside he found it was very dirty. He immediately set to work to clean and repair it. After he finished cleaning it, he said his first Mass. He got together a group of boys and trained them as altar servers.

Fr Damien's motto was, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." He put this into practice by caring for all of his people in Molokai. In all his dealings with them, there was one thing he never forgot about the lepers: that each one had a soul and each one was important to God. So he treated everyone with kindness.

Fr Damien of Molokai was very selfless. He dressed the lepers' wounds himself and even did some surgery on some of the people's boils! In caring for the lepers, he never hesitated or worried about getting the disease.  He did woodworking and made coffins for the dead; and dug proper graves for them. He also built tables, chairs, window sils and other useful items.

Fr Damien is a very good example of charity, loving others selflessly and risking one's life for others. This is just like Jesus did: He died for us!  To follow Fr Damien's example, we can offer ourselves by spending time and comforting the sick, sharing our blessings with the poor, praying for the needy and using our talents to help others.  Fr Damien of Molokai, pray for us!

(Creative Writing,
Grade 5,
Term 2, Week 1)

Fr Damien died with leprosy at 49 years old.  Saint Damien of Molokai was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1995 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. His feastday is celebrated on May 10.