• September 12, 2010

Heart’s Home Pilgrimage to Molokai

kalaupapa Peninsula of Molokai - August, 2010

In 1997 Rev. Thierry de Roucy chose Father Damien “de Moloka’i” as Patron Saint for the sac­er­dotal Fraternity of Heart’s Home. Since then, this Belgium mis­sionary who became a martyr of charity by serving the lepers of Hawaii in the 19th Century has been accom­pa­nying our spir­i­tual family. To cel­e­brate his recent can­on­iza­tion by Pope Benedict XVI, thirty-five mem­bers spent a week vis­iting the place where he lived, the place where he became a saint: the island of Moloka’i.

"At first glance, the beauty of the island seized me. This piece of land has a taste of par­adise: the flowers, the birds, the color of the sea, the music. How restful it is to leave for a moment the noise of the city and enjoy the quite chanting of a bird or simply being together. For a few days, we enjoyed dis­cov­ering more and more about the life of Father Damien in both silence and con­ver­sa­tion, through time spent in talks, on walks, in the chapel, and at the beach.

In the middle of the week, we took a trip to the very small part of the island where the leper colony set­tled. As we arrived at the foot of the cliff, we could easily share the feel­ings of Fr. Damien when he began his life with the lepers. We could imagine the impres­sion made on him by a dis­or­ga­nized cluster of a few hun­dred lepers who had become ugly to see and hor­rible to smell.

Praying in the small chapel Fr. Damien built, we remem­bered how he would describe coming to the foot of the Blessed Sacrament to beg for strength and con­fess how much he received from this inex­haustible Source. Little by little, he began to embrace the lepers and became more pas­sionate about their lives that he even­tu­ally felt him­self to be one of them.

Now back in New York, I am so grateful for this week! This time of vaca­tion was for me “real” vaca­tion; it not only gave me the time to rest and enjoy the pres­ence of friends, but it also brought each of us back to the core of our life in Heart’s Home: to become pas­sionate about the life of every single “leper” we meet, every suf­fering person suf­fering from any kind of iso­la­tion, and to invite each of them to share the joy and com­mu­nion that we expe­ri­ence in Christ."

Laetitia P.
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Molokaii’s flora: hibiscus
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Molokaii has the highest sea cliffs in the world
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St. Philomena Church in Kalawao, Molokai

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