The trouble with many saints is that their lives are presented as so holy, so astonishing, so out of the reach of ordinary mortals that our only response is to venerate them and to ask for their intercession. Similarly, the recounting and embellishment of so many miracle stories associated with their lives on earth, adds further distance between them and us. This cannot be said of Damien, whose only miracle on Molokai was the miracle of Gospel love. Someone once said that to save another person, you first have to love them. From an initial natural revulsion to diseased flesh, Damien grew to love his beloved lepers to an extraordinary degree, identifying so much with them that he became one of them. How could he have lived such heroic love for all those years? The answer lies in ways that are all available to us: prayer, scripture, Eucharist, sacraments, adoration and the awareness that what Damien did for his sisters and brothers he did for Christ. He once wrote that it was at the foot of the altar he received the strength to love those he ministered to. The First Letter of John asks us how can we love God who we cannot see and not love our sisters and brothers who we can see. Damien’s life and example proves that such love is possible, and reminds us of how to live such love.
This web-site is an initiative of the Sisters and Brothers of Damien’s religious congregation (The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary) based in Ireland and England. It is a fervent hope and prayer that it will contribute to making Damien’s story known to a whole new generation. May those who “double-click” on any of the rich sources of material here, be inspired and strengthened to live the Gospel love so evident in Damien’s life, ministry and suffering.
Brother on our 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 a joy like yours,
to be lepers with the lepers of our world,
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.
The state flower of Hawaii is the yellow Hibiscus, also known as the Pua aloalo. As shown here.