Friday, February 23, 2007


Father Damien has had a special place in my heart since I first discovered him years ago while I was still a child. This movie is a touching representation of his life. It stars Derek Jacobi, who was Brother Cadfael in the PBS Mystery series and Claudius in I, Claudius; Kris Kristofferson; Sam Neill; Leo McKern, who played in the Beatles' Help and as Horace Rumpole in Rumpole of the Bailey; Tom Wilkinson; and Peter O'Toole, who played the title role in Lawrence of Arabia, King Henry II in Beckett and The Lion in Winter and Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha.

The movie trailer:

The cause for Father Damien's canonization is followed here. I can highly recommend the biography Damien the Leper, by John Farrow, which includes the Robert Louis Stevenson defense of Father Damien.

Leprosy continues to be a scourge in some areas of the world, and leper colonies are still around. The United Methodist Church is associated with several projects involving leprosy, including the American Leprosy Missions' work in the Congo.

An excerpt from a documentary on leprosy:

I haven't seen the presence of leprosy in much fiction except in historical fiction such as Ellis Peters' The Leper of St. Giles. The notable exception to this is Stephen Donaldson's series on Thomas Covenant (definite spoiler alert), in which the anti-hero lives in modern times and suffers from leprosy, being treated in the modern way.

This film is #92 on the list of top 100 Spiritually Significant films at the Arts and Faith web site.

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