The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Damien of Molokai on May 10th.
St. Damien was a priest from Belgium who selflessly volunteered to minister to lepers in Molokai, Hawaii, ultimately contracting leprosy himself and dying. You can read more of his story at Catholic Culture.
Here is an activity your family can do to learn about this amazing saint and celebrate his special day …
First, make a little Hawaiian beach scene complete with real sand and shells (see photo).
Print some pineapple cutouts and place them in the middle of your beach scene. Put it on your kitchen table or in some visible place.
Next, tell your children the story of St. Damien, describing his acts of love and his total gift of self to the leper colony at Molokai.
Then, let your children know that their activity for the day is to “catch” one another acting as St. Damien would — selfless and loving behaviors like helping Mom without being asked, being kind to a sibling when they don’t want to, etc.
Throughout the day, when one family member witnesses virtuous actions from another, take a pineapple and write down how the other family member was acting like St. Damien (for example: “I saw Claire clean the kitchen without being asked and doing it with a good attitude.”)
At the end of the day, perhaps after dinner, have everyone read what was written on the pineapples. This highlights saintly behavior (and encourages more of it! ;-))
If you really want to get in the spirit of St. Damien’s feast day, you can make a dinner of Hawaiian Chicken (we had this last year and it is simple and delicious)!
As a side, you can have Mango Rice. (I leave out the chicken from that recipe and just make the mango rice.)
Top off your meal with tasty Tropical S’mores.
Don’t have time to do all of this? Then just don a plastic lei, talk about St. Damien, and enjoy a slice of fresh pineapple. Aloha!
My husband, David, and I were in Hawaii last November and found this statue of St. Damien outside the state capitol building in Honolulu. What an inspiration!
“And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” –Matthew 25:40
St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us.