Fr Damien of Molokai (Joseph De Veuster), Missionary to the Hawaiian leper colony on Molokai, born Tremelo, Belgium, 3 January 1840, died Molokai, 15 April 1889. He joined the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (“Picpus Fathers”) in 1859 taking the name of Damien. Arriving in Honolulu in March 1864 he was ordained priest 21 May that year. In 1873 he volunteered to serve the asylum on Molokai Island. Out of a chaos of neglect he brought order, hope and support for the community, and built houses, churches, an orphanage and a hospital. By 1885 he himself contracted “leprosy” but continued his ministry with the help of others from his congregation and the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse. His remains were removed to Louvain in 1936 and he was beatified in 1994.

John Roxborogh