It is with great joy that I add Fr. Damien de Veuster to my Roman Catholic Heroes Blog. Today was the canonization of Hawaii's First Saint who was a true hero for going to Molokai to live on the leper island. The lepers at the time had no priest living there on the island with them and many died without one to hear their confession or give them the last rites of the church. Not only did Fr. Damien volunteer to be their priest but he also helped them build churches, homes, nurse their wounds, police the area and chastise those who used children to satisfy their own lust and more. See the history of Fr. Damien here.
If you have not seen the one man play, check out Aldyth Morris' Damien, with Terrence Knapp as Damien. I've watched it many times and it is a story of love, hope, and the courage of one priest who right away talked to the lepers by saying, "we lepers" until one day he did become a leper. By helping them get food, clothing, shelter, and better medical and living conditions, Fr. Damien's kindness and concern for their welfare brought them to our Lord and God, Jesus Christ. Many, including protestant ministers, converted to the Catholic Church as well. Although many praised him, he had problems with the clergy and detractors too. May we all be reminded in our trials and tribulations that like Fr. Damien, we need to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. Aloha, St. Damien!