Artwork created by children to honor Father Damien. This hangs in his birthplace museum in Tremeloo, Belgium.
A saint is someone whose life makes it easier to believe in God.
Perhaps this quote by William Barclay sums up why I wrote Healing Water.
I was inspired by Father Damien, a Catholic priest who in 1873, chose to live among Hawaii's leprosy patients. The Kalawao leprosy settlement was filling with people who were taken from family and friends in hopes of protecting others from their disease.
The outcast leprosy patients did not have their basic needs provided so they went into survival mode. Then Damien arrived and his compassion helped transform the settlement from a place of hopelessness to a real community.
Eventually Damien himself contracted leprosy. And while leprosy itself, doesn't kill a person, its complications do. In 1889, after 16 years of sharing his skills and compassion with Hansen's Disease patients, Father Damien died.
After decades of consideration, the Vatican has decided that Damien is indeed a saint. This means his life has been scrutinized and 2 miracles have been attributed to his intervention.
On October 11, 2009 Damien will be canonized.
Not to argue with the Vatican, but as far as I'm concerned, Father Damien was a saint simply because of the life he lived in Kalawao. Everything I've read, indicates that his presence there led many to believe in God.