Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1860s – Queen’s Hospital formed, Hansen’s Disease patients to Kalaupapa and first Japanese contract laborers. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
The first shipment of lepers landed at Kalawao (Kalaupapa) January 6, 1866, the beginning of segregation and banishment of lepers to the leper settlement. In January 1883, Walter Gibson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and president of the Board of Health, appealed to obtain Sisters of Charity from one of the many sisterhoods in the US to come and help care for leprous women and girls in the Islands. One of the prime supporters of this action was the Mother Superior, Mother Marianne Cope.
On January 11, 1884, Mother Marianne arrived in Hawai‘i with Sister M Bonaventure Caraher, Sister Crescentia Eilers, Sister Ludovica Gibbons, Sister M Rosalia McLaughlin, Sister Renata Nash and Sister Mary Antonella Murphy. On April 22, 1885, a second group of sisters arrived from Syracuse as reinforcements. This included Sister Leopoldina Burns, Sister Carolina Hoffmann, Sister Martha Kaiser and Sister Benedicta Rodenmacher. Shortly after, Sister Antonia Brown, Sister M. Vincentia McCormick, Sister M. Irena Schorp and Sister Ephrem Schillinger. (More came later.)
Two decades after the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in 1830, Mormonism was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands. Ten men accepted the call to preach Mormonism in what came to be known as the Sandwich Islands Mission. Embarking from San Francisco on November 12, they landed in Honolulu on December 12, 1850.
One of the early baptisms was Jonathan Hawai‘i Napela, who is considered by many to be the most influential Hawaiian convert to Mormonism. Descending from the ali‘i, Napela was born September 11, 1813, in Honokōwai on the island of Maui, to his father, Hawai‘iwa‘a‘ole, and his mother, Wikiokalani.
In 1879, Father Damien established a home at Kalawao for boys and elderly men. By 1886, Father Damien had some twenty or thirty of the patients in a little cluster of shanties and cabins scattered around his house. Father Damien’s home for boys at Kalawao had always been one of the most important facilities at the settlement and a project very dear to his heart.
In 1892, funds were given to the Board of Health by Henry P Baldwin and the Baldwin Home was an enlargement of Father Damien’s Boys’ Home; it was a retreat for leprous boys and to men who, through the progress of the disease or some other cause, had become helpless.
Joseph De Veuster was born in Tremeloo, Belgium, in 1840. Joseph arrived in the Hawaiian Islands on March 9, 1864; he had the remainder of the schooling at Sacred Hearts Father’s College of Ahuimanu, founded by the Catholic mission on the Windward side of Oʻahu in 1846. He came known as Father Damien. In the Islands, Damien’s name became ‘Kamiano.’ Damien learned the Hawaiian language (he had just previously learned English during his long journey to Hawai‘i.)
He was first assigned to Puna, Hawai‘i Island. Damien carried his church on his back (a portable altar which he set up with four sticks pounded into the ground and a board balances on top with a cover cloth.) In early 1865, Damien left Puna for Kohala-Hāmākua. Then the call to serve at Kalaupapa; four candidates quickly volunteered: Gulstan Robert, Boniface Schaffer, Rupert Lauter and Damien de Veuster. Damien was chosen as the first to go; the reason for the choice is unknown.