LR Podcast #14: On Learned Ignorance (then and now)

AOC recently made some comments suggesting St. Damien was part of “the patriarchy” and was an example of “white supremacist culture”. In so doing, the demeans his life’s achievement of giving, caring, and sacrifice, and also exposes her tragic ignorance of the person, and by extension, the religion she was attempting to denigrate.

From Catholic.org:

Upon arrival, he found the colony was poorly maintained. Anarchy reigned among the people living there. Many patients required treatment but had nobody to care for them. Other patients took to drinking and became severe alcoholics. Every kind of immorality and misbehavior was on display in the lawless colony. There was no law or order.

Fr. Damien realized the people needed leadership, so he provided it. He asked people to come together to build houses and schools and eventually the parish church, St. Philomena. The church still stands today.

The sick were cared for and the dead buried. Order and routine made the colony livable. Fr. Damien personally provided much of the care the people needed.

He was supposed to only work in the colony for a time then he would be replaced by one of three other volunteers for the work. But the leper colony was to become his permanent home. After working with the people for a time Fr. Damien grew attached to the people and his work. He asked permission to stay at the colony to serve. His request was granted.

Leprosy is not as contagious as most people of the period assumed, however five percent of the human population is susceptible. The disease can also take several years to show symptoms.

Fr. Damien became one of those people. He contracted leprosy in 1885, after several years of work. He realized he had the disease when he placed his foot into scalding water by accident, but felt no pain. This was a common way by which people discovered they were infected. Leprosy attacks nerve endings and a victim may hurt themselves but not feel any pain.

Fr. Damien continued his work, despite his illness, which slowly took over his body. He derived strength from prayer and devotion. He often went to the cemetery to pray the Rosary or spent time in the presence of the Eucharist. “It is at the foot of the altar that we find the strength we need in our isolation,” he wrote.

B y all accounts, Fr. Damien was courageous, headstrong and resilient. His personal toughness served to inspire others. He was also reportedly very happy, a common phenomenon for those who pray and work hard to serve others and the Lord.

After sixteen years in the colony, Fr. Damien succumbed to leprosy on April 15, 1889. He was first buried nearby, then his remains were transferred to Belgium in 1936. His right hand was returned to Hawaii in 1995 to be reburied in his original grave at Molokai.

The fact that AOC chose to impugn the memory of St. Damien shows that she must be ignorant of his story.

Also discussed is the enforced ignorance of the COVID-19 cures and situation, especially the censorship of differing messages of Hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness and how Sweden can claim success dealing with the disease without killing their economy or major infringements on the rights of their citizens.

Also discussed is the enforced ignorance of the COVID-19 cures and situation, especially the censorship of differing messages of Hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness and how Sweden can claim success dealing with the disease without killing their economy or major infringements on the rights of their citizens.

Listen to the newest episode here.

Thanks for listening!

J.P. Mac

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