Moloka'i

St. Philomena Church (Kalawao)


[St. Philomena Church]

Father Damien's Church

Here under Molokai's sea cliffs, on the secluded Kalaupapa Peninsula, is St.Philomena Church, ministered to by the legendary (and now sainted) Father Damien. He arrived in Kalawao in 1873, and twice enlarged the small wooden church he inherited, with patient/parishioner helpers. The final work was completed after Damien's death in 1889, by Brother Joseph Dutton. Their
graves lie just outside the church, where countless others were buried, in cemeteries and thousands of unmarked graves.

So beautiful now, so much despair for over a century. Today (as of July 2013) there are still 9 living residents here, by choice, and the deepest of respect is accorded to both the survivors and the many who perished from that dread and now-curable disease.

Below is the decorative window from the tiny, oldest section of the church, on the left (above).


[St.Philomena Window]


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This page last updated: Saturday, 31-May-2014 20:48:54 CDT
Copyright © 2013 Michael Fenichel