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Saint Damien of Molokai was canonized a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church on Oct 11, 2008. For 16 years Saint Damien worked in the Hawaiian Kingdom as a missionary from Belgium on the Island of Molokai where he served in the Leper’s Colony. Hansen’s disease, or Leprosy, was a dreaded disease that spread throughout the Hawaiian Kingdom in the 1860’s. Eight thousand people were sent to the small peninsula called Kalaupapa, on Molokai, to die in isolation and banishment. St Damien gave the people hope and dignity as he served the sick and dying in this seemingly God-forsaken place in paradise. He and his successor, Mother Marianne, served the people tirelessly and helped thousands of Hawaiian citizens who contracted the disease. St. Damien served as both pastor and physician and undertook many projects to better the conditions in the colony. Besides his spiritual ministry, he improved water and food supplies and founded two orphanages. He built roads, schools, hospitals, houses and churches and gave medical care with his own hands.
Eventually, St Damien came down with the disease himself and died in Kalaupapa April 10, 1889.
Saint Damien was a living example of nishkam karma – selfless service performed without any expectation of personal reward. This is one of the central tenants of the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
Ram and Dikshini will share stories on the life of St. Damien and slides of their visit to Kalaupapa, Molokai in May 2019 where they went on pilgrimage.
This event is free, but donations are gratefully accepted