Did you know that Fr. Damien brought tobacco to grow on Molokai? Here’s why:
(taken from “History of the Catholic Mission in the Hawaiian Islands” by Father Reginald Yzendoorn, SS.CC., Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Ltd., Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, 1927)
Father gives the following description of the settlement at the time of his arrival, in an official report which he addressed to the President of the Board of Health in March, 1886:
“The smell of their [the lepers’] filth, mixed with exhalation of their sores, was simply disgusting and unbearable to a newcomer. Many a time in fulfilling my priestly duty at their domiciles, I have been compelled not only to close my nostrils, but to run outside to breathe the fresh air. To protect my legs from a peculiar itching which I usually experienced every evening after my visiting them, I had to beg a friend of mine to send me a pair of heavy boots. As an antidote to counteract the bad smell, I made myself accustomed to the use of tobacco, whereupon the smell of the pipe preserved me somewhat from carrying in my clothes the obnoxious odor of the lepers. At that time the progress of the disease was fearful, and the rate of mortality very high.”
(to be continued)
Blessings, pono and pule!
Fr. Brian, ss.cc.