H.R. NO.













Declaring October 11th a state holiday in honor of blessed damien.




     WHEREAS, Damien de Veuster, born Jozef de Veuster on January 3, 1840, was a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; and


     WHEREAS, Damien de Veuster was ordained as Father Damien in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace on May 21, 1864, in Honolulu after taking his brother's place as missionary with the Sacred Hearts Mission in Hawaii; and


     WHEREAS, Father Damien arrived at the leper settlement at Kalaupapa on Molokai on May 10, 1873, after 200 Catholics presented a petition asking for a resident priest; and


     WHEREAS, Father Damien's work at Kalaupapa included medical care and social support services as well as religious ministering; and


     WHEREAS, many consider Father Damien's arrival at Kalaupapa a turning point for the community, where basic laws were enforced, shacks became painted houses, working farms were organized, and schools were erected; and


     WHEREAS, at Princess Liliuokalani's request, King David Kalakaua bestowed the honor of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Kalakaua on Father Damien for his "efforts in alleviating the distresses and mitigating the sorrows of the unfortunate"; and


     WHEREAS, Father Damien died on April 15, 1889, at age 49 of the same disease as those he had comforted and cared for, causing him to be known as a "martyr of charity"; and

     WHEREAS, on June 4, 1995, Pope John Paul II beatified Father Damien and gave him his official spiritual title of Blessed; and


     WHEREAS, Blessed Damien was placed on the liturgical calendar on December 20, 1999, with a feast day celebrated on May 10th; and


     WHEREAS, in April 2008, the Holy See ruled that Blessed Damien was indeed responsible for the two miracles attributed to him; and


     WHEREAS, the overnight disappearance of Sister Simplicia Hue's lingering intestinal disease upon her novena to Father Damien in 1895 represents his first miracle; and


     WHEREAS, the second miracle attributed to Blessed Damien involved a woman whose cancer disappeared completely after praying over his grave on Molokai in 1997; and


     WHEREAS, the recognition of Blessed Damien's miracles resulted in the announcement, on February 21, 2009, of his canonization on October 11, 2009; and


     WHEREAS, the Catholic Encyclopedia calls Blessed Damien "the Apostle of the Lepers," and elsewhere he is known as the "leper priest"; and


     WHEREAS, he has been memorialized through statues in Honolulu, Washington, D.C., and Belgium, in the cities of Brumbard, Tremelo, and in Louvain, where he entered the Sacred Hearts Congregation as a postulant; and


     WHEREAS, he is venerated in not only the Roman Catholic Church, but the Anglican Communion and individual Lutheran Churches as well; and


     WHEREAS, Blessed Damien continues to be a source of inspiration and comfort as the spiritual patron for those with Hansen's Disease (leprosy) and HIV and AIDS; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, that this body recognizes October 11th as a state holiday in honor of Blessed Damien; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that individual State departments and agencies are not required to recognize this holiday as a paid holiday; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Reverend Clarence (Larry) Silva, Bishop of Honolulu, Father Donal McCarthy, Provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, and Father Alfred Bell, Postulator General of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts.









Report Title: 

State Holiday; Blessed Damien