His Biggest Sun ice
Having sacrificed himself for 21 years working among lepers, a 76-years-old French priest, Fr. Dubouchet, is to make his greatest sacrifice of all : he is to retire.
Whilst he was staying at an American monastery the news was broken to him that he had been assigned to the chaplaincy of a Montreal Convent School.
But the bearded, sun-tanned old missioner was heartbroken. " It's a great sacrifice," he said, " but I obey. I accept with full resignation, but it is not easy. After 21 years' service in that beautiful island I am told that I am too old."
Before going to the lepers Fr. Dubouchet gave 27 years to parish
work in France. Then he followed in the footsteps, and in the same religious community, as Fr. Damien, who went to Molokai in 1873, lived with the lepers, contracted the disease and died in 1889.
Fr. Dubouchet said that great strides had been made in caring for the lepers since the days of Fr. Damien, when the unfortunates were cold-heartedly banished to the lonely Molokai island. Great irnprovements have been made even in his time, Fr. Dubouchet said.
CARS AND RADIOS
"1 here are comfortable cottages now," he said. "Thcrc is a fine hospital, plenty of medical care and the people have work to do and are paid well for it. Molokai is better off than New York. There are 100 automobiles, which measures out to one for every three lepers. There is a radio in every home."
Fr. Dubouchet said that a cornpetent staff of physicians cares for the lepers and recalled that last November, 16 patients were sent home as "arrested cases." He remarked that leprosy is one of the least communicable of diseases. There are about 300 lepers in the colony and working with the priests in ministering to their need are 10 Franciscan nuns from Syracuse, N.Y.
MARRIAGE Marriage is permitted among the lepers. he said, and many are blessed with children. The aged missioner. who holds six citations of the French Legion of Honour for his World War I service, said that !Molokai is a " miracle of organisation, where there is no feeling of imprisonment and the people are perfectly free."
He said that he chose to go to Molokai in 1927 to work among the lepers and added that he could have stayed on in Hawaii in a post on another island but refused because " if I can't live with them, then 1 believe it is best to leave."