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Some time ago we read of en oh prominent persons In Church and State as the Aroilblshop of Canterbury, Rev 0. H. Spurgeon, and Lord Randolph Ohnrcblll, and others being appointed a committee to 0 milder the best way of perpetuating the memory of Father Damlen. The •eene of his labors was Molokal, one of the smallest Islands of the Hawaiian group. To tfcia Island all pttaonß tffllqted With leprosy amouog the Sandwich Islanders see deported, under the supetvlslon of the Government. Their physical, moral, and spiritual condition wab formerly slmp'y horrible. Bat m 1873 a yooog Belgian Homtn Catholic priest, who had been a missionary m Hawaii, resolved to devote himself to the set vice of these wretched people. His name wai Rev J. Damlen de Vauste-, a man of thirty-three years of age, In robust health educated and refined, but ready to give up all prospects of promotion, and labor amtdsoenes of loathsome jeai and suffering wttn the prospect of himself Incurring (he leper s sufferings snd death. For eleven ysars he Continued his labor io the enjoyment of healt'i, but m 1884 there were certain symptoms, and In 1885 immiitakeable signs of Jeprosy. He wrote to a friend m 1886:— " Having no doubt of the real character of my disease, I feel calm, resigned, and happier among my people. Almlgbty God knows what is beit for my sanotifioition, and I daily say a Fiat Voluntas iua. Please fray for you afflicted friend, and recommend me •;nd my unhappy people to all servants of the Lord." 8 nee ibea Father Damien's disease nude great advances, and finally terminated m death. His presence and labor* had effected quite a revolution among the miserable outcasts, When ha came to Molokai they lived ia miserable grass huts, without distinction of age Or tex, and without regard to the nature of the case or the extent of the disease. They spent their time m card playing, m hula (native) dances, and m drinking homemade beer and alcohol, with the degrading sequels. He first ret about the. needful reforms m their bodily aod temporal oondition— reforms m which the help of Government was required, and m whlob the patience and dillgenos of Father Damlen were cocsplouous m overcoming the vexatious delays. If he was to benefit their sonlibe saw be muat first do what he could for their bodies, Mr BallantyneJ esys m Longman's Magtz'ne. "What a wonderful change this devoted man has worked everywhere m the abandoned Islet 1 When he first reached it the lepers were m a state of the most terrible degrsdation. "In this plsoe there Is do law " was the enrrtnt ssylng among them. Though the othet Hawiftan islands bad abolished idols tory and adopted Christianity, In Molokal where there was no missionary, no priest, the old paganism and all Its horrible cootequences reigned supreme* To make bad worse, the people had discovered a root, whloh. when cooked and distilled In • very crude way, produced an intoxicating liquor of the most frightful kind, making those who drank it more like beasts than aen. But Damlen oime, a prleat and a tecoher, among these abandoned wratcbee, AtSrst his labors seemed m vain. But his kindness, charity, sympathy, his religious zssl soon made themtslves felt. The Molokai leper settlement fiom presenting a aqualld, almost helllth aepeot, is now a peaceful law-abiding community, attractive, snd on some sides cheerful In appearance. It is a colony of neat, whitewashed woodden cottages, some of them standing m the paature lands, some among fields of a wee < potatoes, same even having their verandahs, and gardens of bananas And sugar ones.

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Bibliographic details

FATHER DAMIEN THE LEPER HERO., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2198, 13 August 1889

Word Count

FATHER DAMIEN THE LEPER HERO. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2198, 13 August 1889