Monday, January 21, 2013

Visiting Molokai’s Kalaupapa Takes on Added Meaning

(Image courtesy of Austin McGee)It’s not easy an easy place to get to, but the former leper colony at the village of Kalaupapa is getting more ink in national travel press after Sister Marianne Cope became a saint. 

The Los Angeles Times writes:
There’s an added incentive to visit theKalaupapa National Historical Parkon Molokai. Sister Marianne Cope, a nun who made caring for Hawaii’s lepers her mission, was elevated to sainthood in October.

Visitors to Kalaupapa – once a “forbidden” village because of its leprosy-afflicted residents – tour St. Philomena’s Church, at which Father Damien, the widely known Belgian priest, preached to his banished flock. They also visit his grave as well as the former gravesite of Mother Marianne. (Her remains were relocated to her home parish in Syracuse after her beatification seven years ago.) The facilities the priest and nun oversaw – Father Damien died of Hansen’s disease in 1889 – remained in use until 1969.

If you’re planning to visit Kalaupapa, know that state law requires all visitors to secure a permit from the Hawaii Department of Health before visiting. Regardless of how you plan to access the town beneath towering cliffs, you’ll need to work with Gloria Marks at Father Damien Tours, the only person authorized by Health Department officials to issue permits. Visitors must be at least 16 years of age.

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