Friday 12 May 2017

Saint Damien of Molokai: Hero of Hawaii - Virginia Helen Richards, D. Thomas Halpin and Anne Bergstrom

Saint Damien of Molokai
Hero of Hawaii

Encounter the Saints Series
Virginia Helen Richards
D. Thomas Halpin
Anne Bergstrom (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819871268
eISBN 9780819871800
ASIN B005F1Q7L0 

I have read a number of books about the life of Saint Damien of Molokai. But this is the first book in the 'Encounter the Saints' series from Pauline Books and Media that I have read and I loved it! This book is written for readers in the ages 8-12 range but to be honest an adult could easily enjoy it and get through it in an afternoon or 2 of reading. Even with having read about a half dozen other books about Saint Damien this book had a number of stories I had not encountered before. This book has more information about him growing up, and stories about him and his siblings.

This book has 20 short chapters that span from early childhood to the legacy Damien left behind. The first third of the book is about his childhood and his studies. The next few chapters are about his travels, arrival and first 8 years of ministry in Hawaii. Then the last half of the book is about his time serving at Molokai, and the work he spearheaded and the hope he brought.

There are 5 pen and ink illustrations by Anne Bergstrom that are interspersed throughout the book. Though these drawings are simple in nature they really add to the story. The one that captivated me the most was one of Father Damien and Mother Marianne. The story about his room being prepared was moving and yet another I was unaware of. Part of me wishes that there had been a few more drawings to illustrate other stories from the book.

This book also contains a prayer to Saint Damien:

"Saint Damien, you learned to love others with the heart of Jesus. You saw the dignity and beauty of each person you served, where others saw only pain and misery. You embraced a new land and culture and helped people to have new hope. 
Pray for me that I might see others as Jesus sees them-as my brothers and sisters. May I recognize the needs of people around me and be willing to help, even when it is difficult, just as you did. When I experience challenges or suffering, pray for me that I may always be courageous and hope-filled. And may my own heart always be filled with the love of Jesus and Mary. Amen."
It is different prayer than the one on the Diocese of Honolulu that I have been praying for a little over a year now.

This was an excellent read and I can strongly recommend it to young readers or those with an open heart. For those not familiar with Saint Damien this book is a great starting point. For those who are familiar with his story this book will likely have a few unfamiliar stories. And even though it is written for the preteen and teen market it is an excellent book. I believe it will encourage, surprise and challenge any reader! A wonderful book and if the rest of the series is as good I have a lot of great reads ahead.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Reviews of Books and Movies about Saint Damien:
Apostle of the Exiled St. Damien of Molokai - Margaret Bunson & Matthew Bunson
Pilgrimage and Exile: Mother Marianne of Molokai by: Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, O.S.F.
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien by: Paul Cox
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien
Saint Damien of Molokai - Virginia Helen Richards and D. Thomas Halpin
Father Damien de Veuster Apostle to the Lepers - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston

The Life and Letters of Father Damien, Apostle of the Lepers - Edited by Pamphile De Veuster 
Father Damien's Letters

Prayer of the Day - Saint Damien Prayer

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:

Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity

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