Thursday, May 10, 2012

Father Damien the Leper Priest

"There is no more doubt about me, I am a leper.  Blessed be the Good God!  Do not feel sorry for me.  I am perfectly resigned to my lot.  I ask only one favor of you; send someone to this tomb to be my confessor..."

"I would not be cured if the price of my cure was that I must leave the island and give up my work."

Words spoken by Father Damien to two priests in 1885.

The Vice-Provincial of his Congregation reported in 1888:

"To my utter amazement I saw him on his new church which he was roofing, giving orders to masons, workers, and carpenters.  And yet he has the appearance of a real leper, his face puffed, h is ears swollen, his eyes bloodshot, and his voice hoarse.  But that doesn't discourage him. He is happy.  He works as though he were not sick at all, and he'll only stop when he drops."

"On April 15th, 1889, Father Damien de Veuster, SS.CC., died with a smile on his face, 'like a child going to sleep.'  He was buried under thePandanus tree, where he spent his first night on Molokai..."

Source:  Faith in Paradise, St. Paul Editions

Father Damien's First Days at Kalaupapa

The following description of his first days were written by Father Damien in June, 1886:

"About eighty of the lepers were in the hospital; the others, with a very few kokuas (helpers), had taken their abode further up toward the valley.  They had cut down the old pandanus or punhala groves to build their houses, though a great many had nothing but branches of castor-oil trees with which to construct their small shelters.  These frail frames were covered with ki leaves or with sugar caen leaves, the best ones with pili grass.  I myself was sheltered during several weeks under the single pandanus-tree which is preserved up to the present in the churchyard.  Under such primitive roofs were living in the most revolting promiscuity, without distinction of age or sex, old or new cases, all more or less strangers one to another, these unfortunate outcasts of society.  They occupied their time by playing cards, hula (native dances), drinking fermented ki-root beer, homemade alcohol, and with the sequels of all this.  Their clothes being far from clean and decent, on account of the scarcity of water, which had to be brought at that time from a great distance.  Many a time in fulfilling my priestly duty at their domiciles, I have been compelled to run outside to breathe fresh air.  To counter-act the bad smell, I accustomed myself to the use of tobacco, an and on many occasions the smell of the pipe was my preservation, and saved me from carrying in my clothes the noxious odor of the lepers..."
Source: Faith in Paradise, St. Paul Editions

Feast of Saint Damien

Koa Statue of St. Damien, Sacred Heart Church, Honolulu
Someone inquired about the Litany of St. Damien.  My search led me to this lovely litany which I share with you on the feast day of this beloved saint.  Happy Feast of St. Damien!

Litany of Father Damien

Leader:  O Saint Damien warm greetings. Here we are, people of Hawai’i.
Hawai’i invokes your name, so renowned. Your name resounds against the
cliffs of Kalawao and Kalaupapa, high cliffs on the isle of Moloka’i.  Your
name travels across the sea to distant lands.

O Saint Damien     Pray for us
Salvation of the sick of Moloka’i  Pray for us
Honored son of Belgium    Pray for us
Glorious servant of the Church  Pray for us
Beacon of light for the world   Pray for us
Great heart of compassion   Pray for us
Father and friend of the afflicted  Pray for us
Adopted son of Hawai’i    Pray for us

All:O Saint Damien, listen to our humble prayer. We chant our praise of love
to you. Pray for us and for our loving home. Pray too, for the healing of our
sick, especially for those whose names are written on our hearts, through
the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Peace, patroness of the Hawaiian
Islands and our Mother. We ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ, our
Lord and our God, source of all consolation. Amen.  (composed by Hualani Brandt)

Source of the litany.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Saintly Marian Quotes

St. Theresa, Co-Cathedral, Honolulu

"When the devil wishes to make himself master of a soul, he seeks to make it give up devotion to Mary." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"Whatsoever we do, we can never be true children of Mary, unless we are humble." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"O most blessed Virgin, who declarest in thy Canticle that it is owing to thy humility that God hath done great things in thee, obtain for me the grace to imitate thee, that is, to be obedient; because to obey is to practise humility." - St. Vincent de Paul

"The Virgin Mother, all pure and all white, will make her servants pure and white." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"The servants of Mary who are in purgatory receive visits and consolations from her." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"When we feel our cross weighing upon us, let us have recourse to Mary, whom the Church alls the 'Consoler of the Afflicted.'" - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"The devotions we practise in honor of the glorious Virgin Mary, however trifling they be, are very pleasing to her divine Son, and H e rewards them with eternal glory." - St. Teresa

"Let us consider what the glorious Virgin endured, and what the holy apostles suffered, and we shall find that they who were nearest to Jesus Christ were the most afflicted." - St. Teresa

"If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your salvation is certain." - St. Alphonsus

"He who remembers having invoked the name of Mary in an impure temptation, may be sure that he did not yield to it." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"Mary having co-operated in our redemption with so much glory to God and so much love for us, Our Lord ordained that no one shall obtain salvation except through her intercession." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"Let us offer ourselves without delay and without reserve to Mary, and beg her to offer us herself to God." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"Such is the compassion, such the love which Mary bears us, that she is never tired of praying for us." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"As a mother feels no disgust in dressing the sores of her child, so Mary, the heavenly infirmarian, never refuses to care for sinners who have recourse to her." - St. Alphonsus di Liguori

"Each of our days is marked with the protection of Mary, who is exceedingly anxious to be our Mother, when we desire to be her children." - St. Vincent de Paul

"Let the name of Mary be ever on your lips, let it be indelibly engraven on your heart.  If you are under her protection, you have nothing to fear; if she is propitious, you will arrive at the port of salvation." - St. Bernard

From Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year available free for Kindle here. I love this e-book!