Father Damien was ordained a priest in Hawaii. His brother was supposed to go there as a missionary priest, but he became too sick, so Damien took his place. The priests on the Hawaiian islands took turns ministering to the leper colony on Molokai. However, soon after Damien arrived for his shift, he asked his bishop for permission to stay permanently.
Damien would not build himself a house until he repaired the church, so he spent his first nights under a large tree. Father Damien said Mass, administered the sacrament of confession and the sacrament of the sick, built houses, dug gardens, obtained supplies from business owners on the islands and did anything else that needed done.
Eventually Damien contracted leprosy. He died in 1886.
Father Damien’s good friend and coworker, Joseph Dutton, liked to say, “one’s Molokai can be anywhere.”
Father Damien, pray for us. Help us to find our own Molokai – a place where we are needed, where we can bring Christ’s love to others. Pray that we will never leave due to boredom, fatigue or feelings of inadequacy, but that we will stay and be you to the world. Amen.