Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends…
Damien lived and died by these words, and by his life and death he became a saint. I
n his life he gave himself, body and soul, to serve leprosy sufferers at the isolated settlement of Kalawao in the Hawaiian Islands.
What is the best way to tell his story? The best way, the truest way, is also the simplest way: in his own words. Damien’s words are the heart and soul of this book—vital testimony, all the way to his innermost thoughts, the meditations of his heart. Together with photographs, other images, and the voices of those who knew him best—colleagues, patients, clergy, and physicians, Damien: The Making of a Saint brings us as close as we can come to the man himself.
Damien went to Kalawao in 1873. Among hundreds of doomed men, women and children, he worked every day, for more than ten years, bandaging sores, building hospitals and orphanages, baptizing converts, administering last rites, hammering together coffins, digging graves.
In 1884, leprosy took him and he died among his beloved people in 1889.
In 1995, Damien was beatified. In 2009, after a second miracle was authenticated, he was canonized.