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Photograph - Photography Restoration
Saint Damien's compassion for the lepers led him to spend sixteen years in the "living graveyard that was Kalaupapa" where he died at the age of forty-nine in service to people suffering from the terrible disease of leprosy. This historic portrait was taken two months before his death. Mother Marianne provided him with the flowered sling for his right arm, shown here under his cape. Damien was 49 years old when he died April 15, 1889, at Kalawao with Mother Marianne at his bedside. Shortly before his death, he wrote his brother Pamphile, "I am gently going to my grave. It is the will of God, and I thank Him very much for letting me die of the same disease and in the same way as my lepers. I am very satisfied and very happy". He was buried in the cemetery next to his church, St. Philomena. The people of Kalawao had lost their strongest voice. Photograph restored by James Temple.
December 28th, 2009
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