8. Father Damien - Pater Damiaan - Le Père Damien - Ojciec Damian
Originally uploaded by Rudi Roels
See my links on Diigo for more information about this great saint.
Father Damien has always been a favorite in my family. My oldest son was captivated with his story as a youngster and then chose the name, Damien, for confirmation. It was Father Damien's simple and determined bravery that my son admires so.
When Calvin was preparing for his confirmation, I read Father Damien's story to him. A few things stick out in my mind. Father Damien wanted to go to Hawaii, but he was also very sad to leave his mother behind in Belgium. Their goodbye truly was a goodbye forever. In this day of e-mail, telephone and cell-phones, it is hard to imagine being so out of touch with the son you birthed and fed from your body, and raised from infancy to manhood. I have often wondered what kind of woman Father Damien's mom must have been to raise such a selfless son. And I admit I cried for her, and for the loss she must have felt, intermingled of course with humble pride for her son.
The other story of Father Damien that touches my heart is how he participated in his Catholic faith even when it was not always easy to do so. One time a priest came to Father Damien's island to hear confessions, but the captain of the ship would not even allow Father Damien to board. Father Damien, knowing he need the graces of confession for the difficult work he was doing, humbly sat in a little boat at the side of the bigger ship, and shouted his confession for the priest to hear it. I'm not sure that I would want my sins broadcasted like that. What a humiliation for this holy man to endure. Yet endure he did. He made his confession despite this hardship. Remembering that makes me remember that it's not such a big deal to get to confession on Saturday afternoon, or drive across town to my favorite confessor. At least I have those options, and my sins truly are just between me and God!
More blogs observing Father Damien's feast today.
Find Father Damien on Facebook!
Links to articles about Father Damien
Legacy of Father Damien
Ward Wide Web shared a letter from Robert Lewis Stevenson, defending the good priest after his death!
Science, Religion and Miscellaneous Babble
Gabe dressed as Father Damien for All Saints Day a few years back.