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Saint Damien: Helper of the Helpless

By Eve Morse

In the nineteenth century there was a courageous saint who helped the helpless at the cost of his own life. At 19 years old, Joseph de Veuster entered the seminary and took the name Damien. He then dedicated his life to the people of Hawaii, knowing that he would never see his Belgian family again, and he was ordained a priest among complete strangers. Father Damien built up his parish both spiritually and physically, and then he repaired it again after a disastrous volcanic eruption. After being the pastor of Kohala for eight years, Father Damien volunteered to be the pastor of Molokai, an island full of depressed, ignored, and dying lepers.

He sacrificed for his suffering flock for 16 years until he himself died of leprosy on April 15, 1889, at the age of forty-nine. Saint Damien of Molokai was a selfless priest who gave his life for the vulnerable people of Hawaii.

Saint Damien of Molokai’s life story inspired and encouraged me to help the vulnerable despite my young age. Since I am an eighth grader, one might think that I am incapable of helping the poor, the weak, and the suffering because I have no income. But like Saint Damien, I can give my time to those in need rather than money. I can visit the elderly in their retirement homes, just as he visited the sick lepers of Molokai in their huts. Saint Damien petitioned the then-independent Hawaiian government on behalf of the lepers in person. I can petition the American government in person on behalf of the voiceless preborn who are being aborted by the thousands and their mothers who are being tricked to believe that abortion is the only path they can take by participating in a March for Life. Most importantly, I, like Saint Damien, can pray for the abused, the unfortunate, the vulnerable, and for the government to use its power to help the weak. Saint Damien of Molokai gave his life for all the lepers on Molokai. Even children like me can follow his example and help the unfortunate, although children cannot go to such extremes as he did.

Saint Damien of Molokai selflessly followed Jesus Christ’s teachings and protected and cared for those in need despite the risk to his health, and I will also guard and serve any vulnerable people I may come across during my life. I will start by praying the rosary for the abused and socially avoided. Mary Immaculate always answers the prayers of her children and is sure to aid the oppressed.

Also, like Saint Damien, I can sacrifice for the vulnerable through prayer and by calmly accepting any difficulties that may come my way. Finally, when I am older, I plan to evangelize about Catholicism and the pro-life movement to those who support abortion, euthanasia, or any other anti-life policies. Saint Damien of Molokai was a selfless priest who helped the vulnerable people of Molokai, and he is a great example for pro-life people to follow.

Eve Morse won third place in the middle school category of the Culture of Life Studies Program’s 2022 Pro-Life Essay Contest.