Friday, February 19, 2010

Belgium Part Two...

Just this past fall the Holy Father canonized to sainthood St. Damien of Molokai, a native of Belgium who was sent to the then-mission of the Hawaiian Islands to serve the Church there and who eventually found himself volunteering to be the chaplain for the leper colony located at Molokai. His is a beautiful story of selflessness, untiring hope in Christ, charity to those outcast of society and his own personal suffering and death by leprosy also.

His tomb is located in Leuven just down the street from the American Seminary and we were blessed to spend time there in prayer. These three photos first show a statue of St. Damien along with some historic articles from his life now located in the main sanctuary of the main church.

The second photo is of a painting depicting St. Damien's life beginning at the bottom where he is arriving at the Hawaiian shores, then the middle where he is caring for the people of the leper colony and his subsequent death, while the top portion shows the transfer of his body from Hawaii back to his native Belgium. I am told, but have not confirmed, that when St. Damien's body was transferred across the Pacific and the United States it was done so with full military honors.

The third photo is of his tomb located in the crypt chapel of the church. The bags hanging from the tomb seem to be seashells taken from the waters of Hawaii.

God be praised for the example of Christian holiness in the person of St. Damien. St. Damien, pray for us!

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