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Saint Damien hailed by Pope Francis in his Message for World Day of the Poor

In his Message for World Day of the Poor (14 November) the Pope launches a strong appeal to Christians and governments around the world to intervene urgently and in a new way, because the number of the poor has increased disproportionately, their situation exacerbated by the pandemic. 

It is necessary to change lifestyles, because it is selfishness that causes poverty.

In this text, released on 14 June, Francis cites in a paragraph the example of our brother Saint Damien:

“Many are the examples of saints who made mutual sharing with the poor their life project. I think, among others, of Father Damien de Veuster, the saintly apostle to the lepers. With great generosity, he answered the call to go to the island of Molokai, which had become a ghetto accessible only to lepers, to live and die with them. He rolled up his sleeves and did everything he could to improve the lives of those who were poor, ill and outcast. He became both doctor and nurse, heedless of the risks involved, and brought the light of love to that “colony of death”, as the island was then called. He himself contracted leprosy, which became the sign of his total sharing in the lot of the brothers and sisters for whom he had given his life. His testimony is most timely in our own days, marked by the coronavirus pandemic. The grace of God is surely at work in the hearts of all those who, without fanfare, spend themselves for the poorest, sharing with them in concrete ways”.