Saint Damien Celebration May 9, 2014
150 years ago on March 19th, Jozef DeVeuster arrived at Honolulu Harbor to serve in place of his brother, Pamphile who had fallen ill with typhus. One week later, he was ordained a deacon.
On May 21st, he was ordained to priesthood and took the name, Fr. Damien DeVeuster, ss.cc. with the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.). He was commissioned to the Big Island of Hawai’i. On May 10, 1873, Fr. Damien was the first to volunteer to serve the community living at the Kalaupapa, MOLOKAI settlement where he lived the charism of proclaiming God’s redeeming Love with dignity and in so unified the people – those afflicted with leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) and those who were able to offer assistance.
After serving God’s people of Hawaii for 25 years, Fr. Damien passed on April 15th. He was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II on June 4, 1995. He was canonized a saint on October 11, 2009.
Normally, a saint’s feast day is the anniversary date of their death. The Church designated St. Damien’s feast day as May 10th, the day he arrived at the Kalaupapa settlement.