Damien de Veuster, Belgian priest

Damien de Veuster, Belgian priest

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Credit: National Library of Medicine/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Father Damien. Portrait of Father Damien or Joseph Damien de Veuster (1840-89), a Belgian missionary who treated lepers. In 1865 Father Damien was sent to Honolulu, Hawaii, as a missionary in place of his sick brother. In 1873 he went to the Hawaiian island of Molokai and began work on the arduous task of improving conditions in the leper colony there. Father Damien nursed and performed amputations for the 800 occupants. He also built huts, obtained government aid and encouraged local industry and agriculture. He contracted leprosy (Hansen's disease) himself in 1885, eventually dying of the disease. He was made a saint in 2009.

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