St Damien of Molokai, born Joseph de Veuster in Belgium on Jan 3, 1840. He was the youngest of 7 children and joined the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary (Picpus Fathers). He was sent as a missionary to the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands in 1863; he was ordained in 1864. Moved by the miserable conditions of lepers who had been deported to Molokai by the Hawaiian government, he volunteered to take charge of the settlement.
Damien was known for his compassion and provided comfort to those suffering from the incurable and painful disease. He served as pastor and physician to the colony; he improved water and food supplies and housing; he also founded 2 orphanages, receiving help from other priests for only 6 of his 16 years on the island.
He contracted leprosy himself in 1884 and refused to leave for treatment. He was originally buried at the colony, as he requested, but his remains were transferred to Leuven, Belgium in 1936. His right hand was returned to his original grave in 1995.
He died April 15, 1889 and was canonized Oct 10, 2009. His feast day in May 10.