by Kathleen Blease
Being a mom of two Boy Scouts and a counselor of the Scout’s Catholic religion emblem program (called the Ad Altare Dei), it does my heart good to hear about kids doing great things to celebrate the Faith.
So let me tell you about the St. Damien Boy Scout Troop of Molokai, Hawaii. This group of young men devoted their Boy Scout Troop to St. Damien. It was unusual in itself to name a Troop after a Saint, but if that wasn't enough, these kids decided that they would set off for Belgium and then for Rome to witness the canonization of the hero of their island, the Blessed Fr. Damien de Veuster of Molokai. They first traveled to Belgium, to visit the saint's birthplace. Then it was off to the Vatican for the canonization. What an effort! What an experience for young men!
Fr. Damien de Veuster was ordained to the Sacred Heart Fathers in 1864, then sent to Hawaii to work in the missions on the main island. In 1873, he volunteered to work in the leper colony located on Molokai, devoting himself particularly to the children of the colony, although he showed great care to lepers of all ages. He became known as the Leper Priest, the Hero of Molokai. Within the colony, he was also a builder of churches, schools, and clinics, and he reportedly built some 600 coffins. In 1885, he announced that he, too, contracted the terrible disease, yet he remained vitally active in caring for his charges in every way, providing them with love and human diginity. He died in April of that year. His feast day is October 11th.
St. Damien was canonized on February 21, 2009. For more information about St. Damien, click here. Or to find a book on the saint, click here.
Check out the St. Damien Boy Scouts, follow their blog, and watch their clips about their travels. My boys belong to a Troop of more than 100 Boy Scouts (the biggest in our council), so St. Damien's troop seems small by comparison...small, but mighty! Let's pray for their continued success!
This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!