Saint Damien statue blessed at St. John’s

Archbishop José Gomez and sculptor Dale Zarrella flank a statue of St. Damien of Molokai at St. John’s Seminary.

"Saint Damien with Leper Child," by sculptor Dale Zarrella, is the newest artistic addition to St. John’s Seminary, celebrating the life of the priest who ministered to lepers in Molokai, Hawaii.

Blessed recently by Archbishop José Gomez, the bronze statue — standing on a pedestal in the "cloister" near the seminary chapel — depicts Father Damien as he first arrives on the Kalaupapa peninsula. He is standing with an orphaned leper child, observing the loneliness and suffering of the many hundreds of outcasts who were abandoned there.

“Like Michelangelo's David looking toward the giant he is facing,” explained Zarrella, “Damien stands on the cliff looking toward the leper colony of Klawao, knowing in his heart that everything in his life to this moment has prepared him for the task of bringing comfort, hope and dignity to these unfortunate souls.”

In his sculpture, Zarrella said he sought to capture “both the humanness and saintliness of this extraordinary man in a beautiful celebration of his compassion, commitment and his love.”

Unlike most images of the saint, it depicts him as a young man, not yet disfigured by the disease which would take his life. He has his left hand on the figure of a shrouded child, symbolizing the hundreds of children and adult sufferers of Hanson's Disease to whom he ministered and clasped in his right hand, a Bible which would be his consolation.

“This image of the young Damien is a great inspiration to the young men being formed as priests, that they might follow his courageous example of sharing the Gospel with the poorest of the poor,” said Msgr. Marc Trudeau, St. John’s vice rector.

The statue and plinth on which the statue rests were donated by Scott and Lannette Turicchi, Chris and Laura Meissner, and Bill and Debra Shaw (Lanette, Chris and Bill are Seminary board members).


Voices

Appreciating the gift of memory

Anne Hansen

Why do we hold on to so many things in closets, garages and storage units? What is it about the birth announcement of an adult child or the high school diploma of an elderly grandparent that keeps these objects carefully saved rather than discarded? They are of no use to anyone and take up space. Yet they are precious and difficult to part with.

 

 

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Events

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January 25, 2015

  • Saturday, January 24

    Building Bridges through Intercultural Competency: A Symposium on the Future of Education and Ministry in the Church, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will deliver a keynote address, which will be followed by two panel discussions on issues of intercultural competency and diversity featuring experts and practitioners working in Catholic education and other ministries in Southern California and across the United States. For more information, please contact the LMU School of Education Office of the Dean at (310) 258-8768.

    Life in the Spirit Seminar, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (Registration 8:30 a.m.), Incarnation School Auditorium, 1001, N Brand Blvd., Glendale. Led by Fr. Bill Adams C.S.s.R. (818) 421-1354.

    Journey Through Grief, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 377-4867.

    “One Life, One Light” Requiem for the Unborn, 6 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles.

  • Sunday, January 25

    44th Annual Whale Fiesta, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro. Free. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium celebrates marine mammals and the beginning of the migration of the Pacific gray whales along Southern California. Activities include building a life-sized whale out of sand, “Great Duct Tape Whale Contest” and “Whale Dynamics,” where participants will be transformed into a single “living whale.” (310) 548-7562.

    “Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change” with director Jayasri Majumdar Hart, 3-5 p.m., St. Bernadette Parish, 3825 Don Felipe Dr., Los Angeles. A discussion with Ms. Hart will follow the screening.  Free.

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