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Father Damien, an Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde of Honolulu   By: (1850-1894)

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In "Father Damien, an Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde of Honolulu," Robert Louis Stevenson presents a poignant and thought-provoking account of the life and work of Father Damien. With a heartfelt and earnest tone, Stevenson sheds light on the unjust criticisms and misconceptions surrounding the renowned missionary.

Through this open letter, Stevenson passionately defends Father Damien, who dedicated his life to ministering to the lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. The author's admiration for Father Damien becomes evident as he delves into the selfless nature and unwavering determination of this heroic figure.

Stevenson astutely addresses the controversial claims made by Reverend Dr. Hyde, who criticized Father Damien's moral character and religious practices. In eloquent prose, the author eloquently refutes these accusations, emphasizing Damien's remarkable ability to connect with the lepers and provide them with comfort, hope, and spiritual guidance.

What sets this book apart is not only Stevenson's masterful storytelling, but also his profound empathy and compassion for Father Damien and those affected by leprosy. He effectively illustrates the unbreakable spirit and resilience of the lepers, showcasing the transformative power of Father Damien's unwavering dedication to their cause.

Moreover, Stevenson delves into the social and political challenges prevalent during Father Damien's time, shedding light on the prevalent stigmatization and dehumanization faced by those affected by leprosy. By intertwining historical context with personal anecdotes, the author creates a vivid portrayal of the harsh realities that Father Damien confronted on a daily basis.

Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, Stevenson infuses moments of hope and inspiration throughout the narrative. His admiration for Father Damien's relentless pursuit of justice and equality is palpable, reminding readers of the extraordinary potential for individual action to create lasting change.

In conclusion, "Father Damien, an Open Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde of Honolulu" by Robert Louis Stevenson is a compelling and beautifully written tribute to a remarkable humanitarian and a scathing rebuke of unfounded criticism. Stevenson's skillful storytelling and powerful arguments make this book a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the transformative impact of one man's selfless and unwavering dedication.

First Page:



A new impression All rights reserved

SYDNEY, February 25, 1890.

Sir, It may probably occur to you that we have met, and visited, and conversed; on my side, with interest. You may remember that you have done me several courtesies, for which I was prepared to be grateful. But there are duties which come before gratitude, and offences which justly divide friends, far more acquaintances. Your letter to the Reverend H. B. Gage is a document which, in my sight, if you had filled me with bread when I was starving, if you had sat up to nurse my father when he lay a dying, would yet absolve me from the bonds of gratitude. You know enough, doubtless, of the process of canonisation to be aware that, a hundred years after the death of Damien, there will appear a man charged with the painful office of the devil's advocate . After that noble brother of mine, and of all frail clay, shall have lain a century at rest, one shall accuse, one defend him. The circumstance is unusual that the devil's advocate should be a volunteer, should be a member of a sect immediately rival, and should make haste to take upon himself his ugly office ere the bones are cold; unusual, and of a taste which I shall leave my readers free to qualify; unusual, and to me inspiring... Continue reading book >>

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