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Joseph Dutton’s cause for canonization sent to the Vatican

Joseph Dutton

Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/01/24

The Civil War veteran who helped St. Damien of Molokai in Hawaii could some day be declared a saint.
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On Sunday, January 21, 2024, Bishop Larry Silva of the Diocese of Honolulu presided over a ceremony that officially sent Joseph Dutton’s cause for canonization to the Vatican.

According to the Hawaii Catholic Herald, “all the evidence gathered – 2,000 pages worth – will be packed up and sent to the Dicastery for the Causes of the Saints in Rome. There, the evidence will be studied by the men and women who work at the Dicastery. Their responsibility will be to certify whether the Servant of God Joseph Dutton lived a life of truly heroic virtues and, therefore, is worthy of imitation on the part of the faithful.”

If the Vatican verifies that Joseph Dutton lived “heroic virtue,” he will then be declared, “venerable,” the first step towards beatification and canonization.

In order for him to one day be declared a saint, two miracles through his intercession will need to be verified and confirmed.

Who is Joseph Dutton?

After serving in the 13th Wisconsin Regiment during the Cvil War, Ira Dutton became attracted to Catholicism and eventually converted. Larry Peterson summarized this part of his life in an article for Aleteia:

Ira fell away from religion during the war. But he did become interested in Catholicism. He had become friends with some Catholics, and their influence spurred him to want to learn more. He acquired a catechism and began to study. He was received into the Catholic church on April 27, 1883. The occasion also marked his 40th birthday. He changed his name to Joseph, who he greatly admired, quit his job with the government, and set out to begin a “new life.”

He lived at the Our Lady of Gethsemane Monastery in Kentucky for a time, but then moved to Hawaii when he heard about St. Damien.

Brother Joseph served as administrator, carpenter, repairman, and even medic, bandaging wounds and taking care of the sick and dying. He had saved the money he received from two pensions and used it for the lepers. He spent 44 years caring for the young boys and men who had Hansen’s Disease.

Joseph Dutton died of leprosy in Honolulu on March 26, 1931.

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