3 / 16
DamienSt. Damien de Veuster of Molokai was one of seven children born to a Belgian farming family in 1864. Wanting to follow in the footsteps of his big brother and two sisters, Damien asked to take vows and become a priest. Although it was felt he didn’t have the necessary education, he eventually went to Hawaii, taking his ill brother’s place, where he was ordained. He then volunteered to serve a leper colony on the island of Molokai, where he brought law and order to a society lacking in leadership. Somewhat appropriately, Damien, which comes from the Greek “to tame,” gathered these forsaken people together to build homes and the parish church of St. Philomena, which is still standing today. Although he, too, contracted the disease, Damien continued his work until he eventually succumbed to leprosy himself. His courage and compassion knew no bounds.

© Shutterstock