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Discover the modernised Damien Museum, a contemporary and interactive experience centre where you can follow in Father Damien’s footsteps. The museum guides you through different periods in the life of the Greatest Belgian and demonstrates that Father Damien is still a source of inspiration today.
Damien is inextricably linked to Tremelo. He was born in Ninde, a hamlet of Tremelo, and given the name Jef De Veuster. He grew up there, went to school in the neighbouring village of Werchter and worked on his parents’ farm. The house where Damien was born is part of the new Damien Museum, which you can now visit.
Monk, Priest and Missionary
Jef didn’t follow in his parents’ footsteps. He didn’t become a farmer or grain merchant. He chose the life of a missionary. A new life and a new name: Damien. At the age of 23 he travelled to the Hawaiian Islands and started his mission. Distant places and new cultures, but Father Damien went a step further. He volunteered to go to the island of Molokai, where his real journey began.
The People of Molokai
Father Damien discovered and used his skills as a mediator on Molokai. He was an aid worker and human rights activist before such a thing even existed. He laboured for people who were quarantined due to their disease. He built up a community with them; a community in which nobody was shunned.
Father Damien died in Molokai on 15 April 1889. But he lives on. His dedication and solidarity continue to inspire others. Damien Foundation wants to make a difference all over the world in the battle against leprosy and tuberculosis. A battle that Damien Foundation joins, together with others, because there is a Father Damien lurking inside each and every one of us.