Fraternity of Molokai
Island name used for volunteer group inspired by Father Damien
I was very pleased when someone e-mailed me your article “A Saint for Molokai” (October 29) about the cause for sainthood for Father Damien de Veuster. Molokai will definitely be proud when the day of canonization comes for this remarkable priest.
The article mentioned the history of the great works of Father Damien in Molokai, as well as the two miracles attributed to him that have been approved in the sainthood process. However, I would like to inform your readers about another compelling attribute of Father Damien’s legacy.
In the spirit of Father Damien, a Catholic volunteer organization was formed in 1990 by Father Thierry de Roucy, a French priest. Heart’s Home (www.heartshomeusa.org) now has 35 mission houses in 20 different countries. Heart’s Home has trained over 1,000 volunteers to serve the most suffering and the poorest of the poor, striving to promote a culture of compassion. Volunteers help the poor, sick, elderly and incarcerated in a variety of ways, as well as teaching poor children.
While Heart’s Home is mostly volunteers, it has also spawned an order called the Fraternity of Molokai, which has trained priests and lay consecrated adults to serve in the worldwide Heart’s Home network. Today there are 9 priests and 18 seminarians in the Fraternity of Molokai, as well as 60 lay consecrated taking a promise of obedience, poverty and chastity.
I want the readers of The Molokai Dispatch to know that the name of their home territory has been used in such a great way to serve the most suffering throughout the world. While most of the volunteers of Heart’s Home have been French, there has recently been a larger number of Americans volunteering among the ranks. It is a great opportunity for young Catholics to serve at least 14 months helping the poor. While Molokai will be proud when Father Damien is finally canonized a saint in the Catholic Church, it should also be proud that the name Molokai is being used in the spirit of Father Damien to help serve the poorest of the poor and most suffering throughout all corners of the globe.
Tran Danh Phong
San Jose, California