St. Damien of Molokai

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Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, describes Molokai before St. Damien arrived. “It was a different place when Damien came there and made his great renunciation, and slept that first night under a tree amidst his rotting brethren: alone with pestilence; and looking forward (with what courage, with what pitiful sinkings of dread, God only knows) to a lifetime of dressing sores and stumps.” (Bunson, 250) This quote shows the impact Saint Damien had on the island of Molokai, and the courage he had to complete this difficult task. Saint Damien exemplified many Catholic Social Teachings during his lifetime on the island of Molokai. Although there was a Catholic influence in Hawaii, there was a greater Protestant and American influence. In 1893, the American influence became too strong. The Americans successfully attempted a coup. This removed the Hawaiian monarchy and installed a European dominated democracy in which the previous voting requirements were annulled and replaced by new requirements that few Hawaiians met. From this new government, the board of health was formed. At this time, a leprosy epidemic was in progress, and to prevent the spread of this dreadful disease, the board of health put into effect laws that would deeply change the lives of lepers. All people caught with leprosy were exiled to the island of Molokai. To capture lepers, the police used brutal force, which included tactics such as using dogs to track down the lepers. Many of the Americans in Hawaii were also Protestant. These Protestant Americans put into effect laws that persecuted other religious practices. These laws banned any different religious practice other than Protestantism. This limited the spread of Catholicism greatly. Both of ... ... middle of paper ... the church grew in size. Saint Damien also improved the lives of the lepers so much that their lifestyle became that of non-lepers. Robert Louis Stevenson describes Molokai after Saint Damien’s death. “And observe: that which I saw and suffered form was a settlement purged, bettered, beautified; the new village built, the hospital and the Bishop-Home excellently arranged; the sisters, the doctor, and the missionaries, all indefatigable in their noble tasks.”(Bunson 251) Works Cited Bunson, Margaret R., and Matthew E. Bunson . St. Damien of Molokai: Apostle of the Exiled . Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor , 2009. Print. Sheehan, Arthur, and Elizabeth Shehan. Father Damien and the Bells . Ignatius Press, 2004. Print. Duggan, STD, Rev. Robert D. Confirmation Filled with the Holy Spirit, they proclaimed the Lord Jesus. Allen, Texas: ColorDynamics, 2006. 48-49. Print.

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