One of the saints who has had an impact on me for the past few years is Fr. Damien de Veuster of Belgium, known to us now as Fr. Damien of Molokai. Molokai was a leper colony located in Hawaii, and Father Damien was a missionary priest who answered the call of God to serve those who lived there. To this day, the people of Hawaii hold him in loving memory. I feel a special closeness with them, as my sister school – Chaminade University – is in Hawaii, and some of my friends are Marianist Religious Brothers and Sisters from Hawaii.
The first time I heard about Fr. Damien was when I saw the movie Molokai, the trailer for which is below.
What struck me after seeing this movie is the love that Fr. Damien had for his new flock, an entire population of outcasts. He took time to learn their language so that he could pray with them in unison, and embraced them though everyone else had warned him not to touch any of them. In other words, because he loved them, he found a way to care for them and share God’s love with them.
I rejoice today knowing that he has been raised as an example for all of us as missionaries. May we as Church invoke Fr. Damien to help us love every person we reach out to through media. May we learn about them because we love them, and use media to serve their needs. May that love bring Jesus to them.
For kicks, check out my friends Bro. Brandon and Bro. Dennis in this video of Bro. Dennis’ very Hawaiian first profession of vows. He will profess perpetual vows later this month!