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Father Damien

Damien, Father (dāˈmēən, dämyăNˈ) [key] (Damien De Veuster), 1840–89, Belgian missionary priest and saint, originally named Jozef De Veuster. He went to Hawaii (1864) as a Picpus Father (Father of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary). He was ordained (1864) in Honolulu and worked among the islanders for several years. In 1873, at his request, he was sent to the lepers' colony on Molokai, where he labored until his death from leprosy. Attention was called to Father Damien by a tract in his defense by R. L. Stevenson, An Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde, addressed to a minister who had made some slanderous insinuations against Father Damien shortly after his death. In 1936 his body was removed in great state from Molokai to Antwerp. He was canonized in 2009.

See biography by G. Daws (1973).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.