On the journey to sainthood: Father Damien and the presentation of missionary work in nineteenth-century Hawaiʻi in a Belgian museum

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Father Damien was a Roman Catholic missionary who lived in Hawai‘i amongst people with leprosy, currently known as Hansen’s disease. He eventually contracted the disease himself and, after his death in 1889, was transformed into the martyred icon (later saint) of Moloka‘i. This paper explores the role of a museum in remembering a missionary saint by focusing on the Damien Museum in Tremelo, Belgium. It does so by focusing on the role of material objects as an essential element of religious devotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalMaterial Religion
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Damien Museum
  • Father Damien
  • Hansen’s disease
  • Hawai‘i
  • beatification

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