The Apostle to the lepers, Blessed Jozef Damien de Veuster, a Belgian missionary who spent most of his adult life serving the leper community on the Hawaiian island of Molokai will be canonized soon. The announcement will be made on February 21st. His story is one of incredible courage, humility, and perseverance. Fr. Damien once confessed his sins shouting from a little boat in the waters off the island while his confessor stood on board a large ship delivering supplies to the leper colony (by throwing them in the ocean). The captain of the vessle wouldn't let Damien aboard because of his association with the lepers.
After his death from leprosy Fr. Damien was reviled and slandered by people who claimed he was living a lascivious life rather than serving the people. They knew better. Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and a devout Presbyterian, wrote a spirited defense of the Catholic priest which totally defeated the malicious lies.
I've always loved Stevenson since I first read A Child's Garden of Verses as a little girl, but his defense of the beloved leper priest makes me eternally grateful for such a noble heart. He later worked on the island of Samoa for the exploited people of the British colony. The natives buried their "Great Story Teller" under the starry skies on an island mountain as he wished, just as the lepers of Molokai buried their beloved priest. The saint and the story teller -- may they be forever united in heaven.
EWTN on Fr. Damien
The strange case of Father Damien and Robert Louis Stevenson
Damien the Leper by John Farrow
Excellent biography which includes Robert Louis Stevenson's letter defending Fr. Damien.