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Father Damien, Hawaiian Lepers' Priest, Finally To Be Canonized!

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Author Topic: Father Damien, Hawaiian Lepers' Priest, Finally To Be Canonized!  (Read 44 times)
Bianca
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« on: February 21, 2009, 05:40:24 pm »










                                            Priest who aided lepers in Hawaii to become saint






Nicole Winfield,
Associated Press Writer
Feb. 21, 2009
VATICAN CITY

A 19th-century Belgian priest who ministered to leprosy patients in Hawaii, and died of the disease, will be declared a saint this year at a Vatican ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Rev. Damien de Veuster's canonization date of Oct. 11 was set Saturday.

Born Joseph de Veuster in 1840, he took the name Damien and went to Hawaii in 1864 to join other missionaries of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Nine years later, he began ministering to leprosy patients on the remote Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai island, where some 8,000 people had been banished amid an epidemic in Hawaii in the 1850s.

The priest eventually contracted the disease, also known as Hansen's disease, and died in 1889 at age 49.

"He went there (to Hawaii) knowing that he could never return," The Rev. Alfred Bell, who spearheaded Damien's canonization cause, told Vatican Radio. "He suffered a lot, but he stayed."

De Veuster was beatified a step toward sainthood in 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican's saint-making procedures require that a miracle attributed to the candidate's intercession be confirmed in order for him or her to be beatified. De Veuster was beatified after the Vatican declared that the 1987 recovery of a nun of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary was a miracle. The nun recovered after praying to Damien.

After beatification, a second miracle is needed for sainthood.

In July, Benedict declared that a Honolulu woman's recovery in 1999 from terminal lung cancer was the miracle needed for de Veuster to be made a saint.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints said Audrey Toguchi's 1999 recovery from lung cancer defied medical explanation. Toguchi, too, had prayed to Damien.

The Vatican announced the date for Damien's canonization and that of nine others. Five will be declared saints at a ceremony April 26, with the rest, including Damien, on Oct. 11.

Bell said Damien's concern for others was a model for all the faithful today, particularly the young.

"Father Damien's example helps us to not forget those who are forgettable in the world," he said.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 05:53:28 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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