Father Damien born – January 3, 1840
This week marks the anniversary of when Joseph de Veuster, more famously known as Father Damien, was born in Tremelo, Belgium.
The youngest of seven children, Father Damien joined the Society of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1858 and eventually became a missionary in Hawaii during the 1860s.
“Damien, known for his compassion, provided spiritual, physical, and emotional comfort to those suffering from the debilitating and incurable disease,” explained Britannica.
“He served as both pastor and physician to the colony and undertook many projects to better the conditions there.”
Renowned for his work among lepers in Molokai, Father Damien was honored with a bronze statue at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., 80 years after his death.