Elevate Father Damien to Catholic sainthood
A panel of Catholic theologians has concluded that a woman's cancer cure resulted from her prayers at Damien's grave.
Father Damien De Veuster took a major step toward sainthood after a panel of theologians' concluded that a woman's cancer cure was a miracle emanating from her prayers at his grave at Kalaupapa. All that's needed now is for the cardinals and bishops comprising the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to pass the recommendation on to the pope.
The news released on the local Catholic Church's Web site this week included the identity of Audrey Toguchi as the woman whose cure confounded doctors after her prayer in 1998. Toguchi, 79, a retired Aiea High School social studies teacher, is the granddaughter of a leprosy patient who had been banished to Molokai before the quarantine ended in 1969.
The road to sainthood has been a long one for Damien, known worldwide for his service to Hansen's disease patients. He was "beatified" in 1995, a century after a French nun's recovery from an intestinal disease attributed to a miracle after she engaged in a Catholic ritual to Damien. But two miracles are required for sainthood.
Speaking publicly for the first time about her cure, Toguchi told the Star-Bulletin's Mary Adamski that her doctor told her no surgery could eliminate the cancer, which had spread to both lungs. "Doctor (Walter) Chang took pictures of my lungs and every month, it was less and less until after four months, the cancer was gone," Toguchi said. "He was flabbergasted."
Toguchi wrote to the late Pope John Paul II about her recovery and told a tribunal convened in Honolulu about it five years ago. A Vatican commission of five doctors concluded a year ago that her cure defied medical explanation.
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