- Father Damien Statue
Father Damien Statue, also called the Blessed Damien of Molokaokinai Statue, is the centerpiece of the entrance to the Hawaiokinai State Capitol and the Hawaiokinai State Legislature in Honolulu, Hawaiokinai. A second bronze cast is displayed in the National Statuary Hall Collectionin the United States Capitolalongside the Kamehameha Statue. The landmark memorializes the famous Hawaiokinai Catholic Church priest from Belgiumwho sacrificed his life for the lepers of the island of Molokaokinai. Father Damienis considered one of the preeminent heroes of Hawaiokinai. Cast in bronze, the statue depicts Father Damienin his later years after being diagnosed with the disease of those he attended. Much attention was given to the recreation of the disfiguring scars on the priest's face and his arm hanging from a sling.
Sixty-six artists bid for the commissioned project. Only seven were selected to create models to be reviewed by the Hawaiokinai State Statuary Hall Commission.
Marisol Escobar, a New York Citysculptor, won the bid. Commission members favored the contemporary feel and look of the Escobar design as opposed to the classical representations of Father Damien that others submitted. Taking into consideration of Father Damien's work as a carpenter, Escobar created her initial model in wood. She made another model in plasterfrom which the bronze cast would be created. Unfortunately, the plaster model was broken during shipping to the foundry in Viareggio, Italy. A second plaster model was shipped and was lost. Eerily, the Kamehameha Statuecommissioned by King David Kalākaua, the other most sacred of statues in Hawaiokinai, was also lost during travel. Escobar finally sent a wax mold to the foundry.
Father Damien Day
The official unveiling of the Father Damien Statue took place in the United States Capitol Rotunda on Father Damien Day,
April 15, 1969alongside a reproduction of the Kamehameha Statue. Hawaiokinai celebrates Father Damien Day annually, created by an act of the Hawaiokinai State Legislature. On that day, the statue in Honolulu is ceremoniously draped in lei followed by solemn song and prayer. In Catholicism, Father Damien is the spiritual patron of the outcast and those afflicted with AIDSand HIV. He has also been beatified, granted the title of Blessed Damien of Molokaokinai, and awaits sainthood.
Other statues of Father Damien are located in the
United States Capitolas well as in Belgium, in the cities of Brussels, Leuvenand Tremelo, his place of birth.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.