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Lives of the Saints:

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 for leprosy and outcasts, patron saint of the Diocese of Honolulu and of the State of Hawaii

Feast day: May 10

Damien was a farm boy in Belgium who had to quit school as a teenager. Eventually he became a priest in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, 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, helping those suffering from leprosy. He not only shared the Catholic faith with them, but he helped them build homes, hospitals, and schools. Eventually he contracted the disease himself, and died far away from home. The date of his death, April 15, is a minor civic holiday in Hawaii. (From Take Ten: Daily Bible Reflections for Teens [Saint Mary’s Press]) (mage via Wikipedia)