St. Damien Joseph of Molokai, Apostle to the Lepers (1840-1889)—Feast, May 10
Born in Belgium, Fr. Damien became a priest in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and volunteered for the Hawaiian missions. When Fr. Damien arrived at Molokai, he brought the love of Jesus in the Sacred Host to the forgotten suffering lepers. He built a Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, where the lepers spent hours with Jesus experiencing His love, joy and peace. Fr. Damien spent his life for the lepers. Speaking of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, Fr. Damien said:
“I find my consolation in my one Companion Who never abandons me.” “Were it not for the constant presence of our divine Master in our humble chapel I would have found it impossible to persevere in sharing the lot of the lepers in Molokai . . . The Eucharist is the bread that gives strength . . . . It is at once the most eloquent proof of His love and the most powerful means of fostering His love in us. He gives Himself every day so that our hearts as burning coals may set afire the hearts of the faithful.”
“The Blessed Sacrament is indeed the stimulus for us all, for me as it should be for you, to forsake all worldly ambitions. Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the lepers of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin, and is felt throughout the body. Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me.”
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