On a personal note, I was very excited because I thought one of my favorite Church Triumphant members was going to have his feast day on my birthday. But, no. His feast day is going to be on May 10.
Mark your calendars now, so you don't have to rely on me to remind you on the wrong day!
The thing that I find most exciting about Father Damien is that, since he is a new saint, it's easy to find out what his miracles were. Everyone always whats to know what a saint's miracles were and we really don't find that out most of the time. Mother Frances Cabrini's two miracles? Your guess is as good as mine. St. Juan Diego was canonized just a few years ago. His miracles? No clue.
Let's do a quick re-cap on saints so we're all on the same page here. I've gone over it.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints just turned in their paperwork on Father Damien the other day. The Pope read it over. Father Damien is in!
Father Damien was a Belgian priest who wanted to do missionary work and ended up in Hawaii. It wasn't a state yet. The Hawaiians were getting all kinds of diseases from all the traffic through their island paradise. The government of Hawaii, which at that point involved a King and a Princess, decided to stick all the lepers on an island of their own. They were given housing and food, but no medical supplies.
The lepers colony island, cut off from the rest of the world, became like that movie "Escape from New York", where all the criminals are just dumped in a barricaded New York City which has become a giant prison and everyone just runs all around killing each other and snatching purses. It probably wasn't as bad as the prison New York City, because all the inmates were ill and probably didn't have the energy to do anything too monstrous.
But the place was a lawless mess and the lepers weren't particularly kind to each other. Enter Father Damien in 1865. Everyone in Hawaii is still talking about him.
Now, about his miracles. A quick side trip:
Help, Sister, help! That St. Zoe of Rome link* has a SAINT Kateri medal for sale! See how right you are about the need for a Devil's Advocate?
Kateri Tekakwitha is indeed NOT (yet) a saint. I have her in my own shop and there is no "saint" on there. That is because she is awaiting her second miracle. I really like the look of that St. Zoe medal, which is why I posted the link. I didn't even notice SAINT Kateri. I will write them a letter.
Back to Father Damien. The first miracle was a nun who was cured of something or another, some nasty intestinal thing way back in 1895. It's the second miracle to which I want to draw your attention. The second miracle was an old Hawaiian woman. I believe she is 83. At any rate, she had cancer of the fat. Who knew there even was such a thing, but there is. The tumor was removed but it was too late. The cancer had moved to her...everywhere. She had cancer of the everything. Her life could have been prolonged with chemo and radiation, but nothing would save her.
Big deal, she's 83, right?
She told them to keep their stupid radiation and chemo and she marched straight over to the tomb of Father Damien. (I don't believe he's in there anymore, by the way. I believe he was taken back to Belgium some time ago. It's the thought that counts.)
So long inoperable cancer! The old Hawaiian lady, who is Father Damien's ticket to sainthood, is already making plans to attend his canonization in Rome. Old, schmold.
This is why I made the little Kateri side trip, by the way. Blessed Kateri is in need of her second miracle. It could be YOU! Well...I hope it's not you. I hope you don't need such a miracle. But if you do, or a loved one does, this is your big chance!
Not only Blessed Kateri, but also Mother Teresa is still idling and so is a favorite of mine, Blessed Brother Andre.* Also in need of a second miracle, the parents of St. Therese the Little Flower.
Here's a little ditty I've composed to help you remember:
May you not need a miracle.
But in case that you do.
Say a quick prayer
to a "Blessed" or two.
*Brother Andre was canonized in 2010!"