Crying to “I Make Myself a Leper”…..


In keeping with my goal of transforming into a better person, I would choose to cry with the saint Father Damien. Known as the “leper priest” and a patron for leprosy and outcasts, Father Damien volunteered his life to help the 8,000 quarantined lepers on the island of Molokai, Hawaii known as the secluded Kalaupapa settlement. It was said that living conditions at Kalaupapa prior to Father’s arrival were extremely poor not only due to limited supplies and food, but proper healthcare was almost non-existent. The government expected the residents to grow their own food and pretty much be self-sufficient. (A difficult task due to the deformity of the lepers due to their disease!)

Much of my day would be spent crying had I followed Father around as he dressed the infected ulcers, lived with the horrible stench of rotting flesh, built their homes, beds and coffins, dug graves and enforced basic laws of decent living. But as Father wrote to his brother Pamphile,

…I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ.

crying with a saint…..or should he have chosen to “laugh with the sinners?” What do you think? Was Father Damien’s life just a waste? He volunteered to stay and finally succumbed to leprosy himself. Is this crazy?