“I Learned to Love Them”

“On one of my visits to the missions, I went to a leper colony in Buluba, Africa, where there were 500 lepers. I brought with me 500 silver crucifixes, intending to give one to each of the lepers-this symbol of the Lord’s Redemption. The first one who came to meet me had his left arm eaten off at the elbow by the disease. He put out his right hand and it was the most foul, noisome mass of corruption I ever saw. I held the silver crucifix above it, and dropped it. It was swallowed up in that volcano of leprosy.

All of a sudden there were 501 lepers in that camp; I was the 501st because I had taken that symbol of God’s identification with man and refused to identify myself with someone who was a thousand times better on the inside than I. Then it came over the awful thing I had done. I dug my fingers into his leprosy, took out the crucifix and pressed it into his hand. And so on, for all the other 499 lepers. From that moment on I learned to love them.” –Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen

Christ heals the leper, Church of the Chora, Istanbul:

Christ heals the Lepers, St. Jørgen’s Hospital, Norway:

Blessed Damien the Leper, soon to be canonized:

Healing the Leper, S. Crisogono in Trastevere, Rome:

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