Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka’i (1840-1889)

Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka’i (1840-1889)

Patron saint for those suffering from leprosy and of outcasts, patron saint of the Diocese of Honolulu and of Hawaii

Feast day: May 10

Damien was a farm boy in Belgium who had to quit school as a teenager to help on the family farm. Eventually, he became a priest and volunteered to go to a remote island in Hawaii where people with the terrible disease of leprosy were isolated and abandoned. He spent his life there.

He built decent housing and even built a reservoir for water. He made coffins and dug graves. He shared meals with his people and supported them both medically and emotionally. Eventually he contracted the disease himself and died far away from home.

The day of his death, April 15, is a minor statewide holiday in Hawaii. (Adapted from Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens [Saint Mary’s Press])

(Image via Wikipedia)