The ultimate honor for a priest who never sought them

Catholics around the world — but especially in Hawaii — are preparing to celebrate the canonization this Sunday of Blessed Damien de Veuster, the Belgian-born priest who gave his life to minister among those with Hansen’s disease in Hawaii.

CNS photo/courtesy of Honolulu Diocese.

CNS/courtesy of Honolulu Diocese.

Over the years and particularly in recent weeks, we’ve had many stories about the lives Blessed Damien touched. Here are a few:

Life has changed for woman whose cancer cure led to canonization

Woman whose father knew Blessed Damien brings family back to Hawaii

Park service planning for future of community served by Blessed Damien

Canonization of Father Damien to end long journey for priest

Charity in action: Impact of new saints continues in United States

You can also follow the blog entries and the tweets from members of a pilgrimage group from Honolulu heading to Rome — via Belgium — for the canonization. Check the Hawaii Catholic Herald blog and the pilgrims’ Twitter feed.

Be sure to return to the CNS blog next Monday to read what Pope Benedict XVI has to say when he canonizes Father Damien and four others.

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One Response to The ultimate honor for a priest who never sought them

  1. John Thavis’ article about Blessed Damien was inaccurate. He was indeed considered a hero in his day and gained international recognition for his revolutionary work with leper patients. In fact, donors from around the world sent money to help him to build the community in Molokai.

    Secondly, it was unfair for Thavis to describe Damien as “headstrong” and “bothersome.” In an article that gives little more than three paragraphs about Damien’s life, it is a shame that space was devoted to these unattributed characterizations of Damien. Damien battled the Dept. of Health in Honolulu for food, lumber, medicine and other desperately needed supplies for the poor colonists, who were literally abandoned on the island’s shores; perhaps his tenacity (no doubt inspired by the Holy Spirit) made a few officials unhappy. Damien’s work revolutionized the way the world treated such outcasts; I only wish Thavis would have devoted the little space he had to more important and inspiring ideas rather than waste words on unsubtantiated claims about this “martyr of charity.”

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