Father damien

Damien of Molokai

By ellenl
  • Born

    In Tremelo, Belgium, to Flemish corn merchant Frans de Veuster and Cato Wouters. Two of his sisters, Eugenie and Pauline, became nuns, and one of his brothers, Auguste, became a priest. His birth name was Joseph de Veuster.
  • Left school to work on family farm

    At the age of 13 (date unknown), he was sent to work on the family farm, and forced to leave his education behind because his family needed him.
  • Became a member of the Sacred Hearts Congregation

    He joined his brother and became a member of the Sacred Hearts Congregation in Louvian.
  • Became a Picpus Brother

    He made his vows in Paris, as a Picpus Brother, (official name Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, founded during the French Revolution). They are called Picpus Borthers because the first house they had was in the Rue de Picpus in Paris.
  • Assigned to mission in Hawaii

    When his brother Auguste fell ill, Damien took his place on a mission to Hawaii. He had always wanted to be a missionary and help others, and this was the perfect opportunity.
  • Landed in Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Ordained to priesthood

    At the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, Honolulu.
  • Assigned to Catholic Mission

    (Unknown Date). In North Kohala, Hawaii. Over the next few years, until he went to the leper colony, he served at several parishes on the island of O'ahu.
  • Arrived at the leper colony at Kalaupapa

    He was the first to volunteer to go and help the lepers at Kalaupapa and Kulawo. There he set up schools, the Parish of Saint Philomena, built a church, began farms, enforced laws, dressed ulcers, built coffins, and even dug graves, as well as being the priest.
  • Wrote a letter to his brother

    "I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ" he said in his letter to his brother Auguste, revealing his true devotion to the leper colony.
  • Contracted leprosy

    (Unknown date). In December 1884, he accidentally put his foot in a bucket of scalding water, and felt nothing. He had caught leprosy, but still continued his work.
  • Built orphanages for boys and girls

    (Unknown date) When Fr. Damien discovered he was dying, he tried to get as much work done as possible for the benefit of the other lepers. One of these actions was to set up an orphanage, so children whose parents had died of leprosy and had it themselves could be looked after properly on the island.
  • Last trip to Honolulu to receive medical treatment

    Masanao Goto was Damien's favourite doctor and close friend, and his last trip to Honolulu was made to receive treatment from him for his leprosy. Even when Damien discovered he was dying, he continued to work for the people of the colonies, hurrying to complete building projects, enlarging orphanages, and organising for his work to be carried on by others.
  • Asked for a new building to be built

    (Unknown date). Even though he was in the later stages of leprosy, Damien was still thinking of others, and requested for a building to be constructed for unmarried women and nurses to live in.
  • Became bedridden from leprosy

    With an arm in a sling, his leg dragging, and a foot in bandages, he was unable to carry on with his work and became bedridden.
  • Made a general confession and renewed his vows

    On his deathbed, having been bedridden for a week, he prepared for death.
  • Received Holy Viaticum

    Near to death, he received communion for the last time.
  • Received Extreme Unction

    Also known as Anointing of the Sick or Unction, he was anointed and blessed for a final time.
  • Died

    Died of leprosy, a danger he knew he would face when he went to Kalaupapa, and yet he continued to work for the people he loved, even though in the end it meant he sacrificed his own life. Today he is considered a martyr of charity.