Some people have wondered why we picked the name Damien for our little boy. We were inspired by learning of the story of Father Damien de Veuster (Belgium). Father Damien was a missionary priest on the island of Hawaii in the late 1800's. He volunteered to minister/evangelize a leprosy colony that was exiled to the island of Molokai. To put it lightly, the colony was spiritually devastated due to the chronic disease of the people but moreover the exclusion of exile. They were a forgotten people deemed unfit for the participation with the healthy community.
His tenure on the island brought purpose, hope, and the love of God to the majority of the colony's people. He was a strong man who aided in working the land bringing crops to people. He was a carpenter bringing sustainable shelter. He was their priest, teacher, funeral director, and social advocate to the world.
He contracted leprosy but continued to work for his people until his death on April 15, 1889. He truly exhibited the sacrificial love of a saintly servant of God.
There has been documented miracles that have taken place through the intercession of Father Damien. These documented miracles have paved the way for his canonization this Fall. We think it is special that our son was born in the year that Father Damien will become a saint.
This video from pbs does a great job with an overview of Father Damien and goes in depth on the documented miracle of Audrey Toguchi: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/january-23-2009/father-damiens-legacy/2030/
Trisha and I had been learning about the heroic works of Father Damien in the last few months and have grown to greatly admire and love him.
Trailer of Molokai, a movie made telling his story:
Another brief overview of Father Damien (another mention of Audrey Toguchi's miracle case):
Here is the movie from Amazon
Trisha is reading this book right now.