April 2, 2009.
Reverend Damien de Veuster was a Belgian priest who traveled to Hawaii in 1864 to do missionary work. He volunteered to serve a leper colony on the small Hawaiian island of Molokai, an assignment that was considered a death sentence.Father Alfred Bell
Postulator for Father Damien's Cause
He is a big example also for the youth, because he was a person that took decisions. The bishop asked, who wants to go there? But you have to know if you go there, there is no return. And he said yes. And all his decisions when he entered in the congregation, he took it very quickly in a good sense, not you can think no, it's very difficult if I go to a place like that, if I go to a congregation like that. No, he was convinced and it was in a certain sense a good decision.
120 years after he died of what is now known as Hansen’s Disease, Father Damien will be canonized by the Vatican in October. Even though he is not a native islander, he will be Hawaii’s first saint. Bishop Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu Father Damien is one of the greatest heroes in Hawaii. In fact, his statue is out in front of our state capitol. So he is a hero not just for Catholic people but for all people in Hawaii, he's very well known not just as a man of faith, but as a great humanitarian. Someone who brought order where there was chaos, someone who brought hope where there was great despair.
Father Damien is also the first saint from his order, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
The cause for his beatification began in 1936, but Father Damien wasn’t beatified until 1995. The second miracle happened in 1998. Bishop Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu Audrey Toguchi had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was given the choice of taking chemotherapy, but she decided not to, she wanted to make a pilgrimage to Kalaupapa, Molokai, which is where Father Damien had worked and to pray to him. She had great faith in him, and within several weeks the cancer had disappeared. It was documented by her doctor, who was amazed and he's not a Catholic
The people Father Damien served and helped in Hawaii will be in Rome to honor him for his canonization.
A group of Hansen’s disease patients from Molokai is being flown out by the Catholic diocese of Honolulu, and Audrey Toguchi, the woman whose cancer treatment was Father Damien’s second confirmed miracle, is also making the trip.