Father Damien: Hawai‘i’s Saint
A historic graphic novel by Rene Berthier and Marie-Helene Sigaut (originally published in French, translated into English by Bess Press)
Father Damien: Hawai‘i’s Saint was first published in French by Univers Media in 1981, under the title Le Père Damien: et le journal de la lute contre la lepre. The story illustrates the life, trials, and triumphs of Josef de Vuester, better known as Blessed Father Damian of Moloka‘i. Father Damien’s tireless and unconditional dedication to working with victims of Hansen’s disease over a period of 15 years is known worldwide. This colorfully illustrated story details his childhood and his eventual journey to Molokai, Hawai‘i.
Father Damien selflessly served the people of Kalaupapa, Hawai‘i, who were abandoned and rejected by society. His work transformed the poverty-stricken and lifeless settlement from one of despair and suffering into a community of life, love, and compassion. Father Damien built hospitals, orphanages, and houses. Incredibly, he also administered religious services and medical care by himself for just over 12 years. His commitment eventually led to his own death at the age of 49, in 1889.
On October 11, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI officially canonized Damien into sainthood. Today, Saint Damien’s selfless service and dedication to the patients suffering from Hansen’s Disease is an inspirational story to people of all ages. The book’s cover art was taken from the late artist Peggy Chun’s Father Damien mural, which now hangs in the Vatican’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
“All the rich details are here in words and pictures. The soft cover and large format is perfectly suited to elementary school students, a niche previous Father Damien books had not filled...
This is a wonderful book that no Hawai‘i school library should be without.”
—The Honolulu Advertiser