CAUSE OF CANONIZATION FOR JOSEPH DUTTON APPROVED BY BISHOPS
Three causes for canonization have been presented to the U.S. bishops in their fall 2021 meeting, including the cause for Servant of God Joseph Dutton, a cause initiated by the Diocese of Honolulu and Bishop Larry Silva. When a written request to initiate a (local) cause is received by the bishop, for it to advance he must consult the opinion of the regional conference of bishops, then the national conference and lastly, the Holy See. A voice vote today at the USCCB meeting in Baltimore gave the go-ahead for this cause to proceed. Bishop Silva has now completed the first two of those duties.
Because of the research I have done on Servant of God Joseph Dutton, Michael Heinlein of Our Sunday Visitor asked me to write a story. That appeared today when Michael tweeted: Great piece from my friend @joansrome on the third canonization cause #USCCB21 is consulted on today. Get to know Joseph Dutton!
Take a few minutes to read the story so that you understand the photos I post.
The incredible life of Joseph Dutton, a servant to the saints and souls of Hawaii – Our Sunday Visitor (osvnews.com)
I took the following photos on several of my trips to Kalaupapa to visit the sites where Sts. Damien and Marianne Cope and Servant of God Joseph Dutton lived and worked among the victims of leprosy.
In some photos, you will see the area of Kalawao where ships in the 19th century dropped off those ill with leprosy, leaving them at the shore near the big rock you see. I’ve read a few reports where some exiles had to swim a bit or walk in shallow water to shore when they disembarked.
The terrain you see in other photos is that of Kalaupapa in general and Kalawao specifically as that is where Fr. Damian built the church of St. Philomena, where separate homes were built for men and women and teenaged girls and boys. I also took photos of some of the historic descriptions of and facts about the area and Brother Dutton.
I have other photos of some of the burial grounds around Kalaupapa, including the area adjacent to St. Philomena church where Fr. Damien is buried (only a small relic is here with his remains having been transported (against his final wishes!) in 1936 to his native Belgium in St. Anthony’s Chapel in Leuven.
When I returned to Hawaii in 2012 and subsequent years, I began to seriously study Joseph Dutton’s intriguing story and amazing life and, in 2015, when Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu approved the statutes of the Joseph Dutton Guild, whose mission is to spread knowledge of and devotion to Joseph Dutton, as well as address the financial and logistical needs for his cause for sainthood. I was invited to be a member. I try to attend at least one meeting in person every year and have attended others via Zoom.
On the personal side: I believe that what Dutton experienced in his post-war years was equivalent to what today is called PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder. I would love to see him become a patron saint of people in the military, especially veterans!
Those of us who know the Kalaupapa stories of Sts. Damien and Marianne and Servant of God Joseph Dutton, who have spent time on this historic peninsula, who have studied the history of leprosy, who know some of the current residents of Kalaupapa, who have walked among the many tombs of the exiles who were forced to live there, have a big concern: What will happen when the last patient living there dies?
For decades, employees of the Hawaii Department of Health and the Department of Forests and Parks have lived and worked on Kalaupapa. What will happen to them? Would they still be needed?
What will happen to Kalaupapa? Many of us entertain the thought, the hope that one day this historic piece of land could become a shrine, a sanctuary, especially for members of the military, in particular for veterans. A place of God-given pristine natural beauty, of quiet and peace that would be conducive to introspection, to reflection, to healing of mind, body and soul.
FYI: Since posting this, I learned from a member of the Dutton Guild that the the National Park Service has a sort of master plan for Kalaupapa National Historical Park that is called the General Management Plan. It’s apparently quite long so when I read it and have a better idea of things, I’ll pass that on to you.