Damien Centre

Damien House - A Place of Welcome and Companionship

We provide:

  • A welcoming atmosphere for all

  • A place for people to meet and chat

  • Have a cup of tea and a sandwich

  • Read a book or the daily paper

  • Watch TV

  • Or just sit and relax

  • Quiz once a month

Address: Damien Centre, 3-5 Church Road, Acton W3 8PU

Blessed Damien

 

In 1873, Father Damien deVeuster, aged 33, arrived at Kalaupapa. A Catholic missionary priest from Belgium, he served the leprosy patients at Kalaupapa until his death. A most dedicated and driven man, Father Damien did more than simply administer the faith: he built homes, churches and coffins; arranged for medical services and funding from Honolulu, and became a parent to his diseased wards.

Shown here in a rare pencil sketch from December 1888, Damien contracted the disease, and after 16 years of selfless service, died in 1889.

In 1886, Brother Joseph Dutton arrived at Kalaupapa to assist Father Damien. Dutton, an energetic and dedicated missionary priest, assumed many of the duties Damien was unable to perform as his leprosy progressed.

Mother Marianne, another revered servant, devoted 29 years on the peninsula as an administrator, nurse and educator. She spent her life on the go, even as her age climbed well into the seventies. She died in 1918.

In 1977, Pope Paul VI declared Father Damien to be venerable, the first of three steps that lead to sainthood. Pope John Paul II declared Damien blessed in 1995, the second step before canonisation as a saint.

With the advent of sulfone drugs in the 1940s, the disease was put in remission and the sufferers are no longer contagious. The fewer than 100 former patients remaining on the peninsula are free to travel or relocate elsewhere, but most have chosen to remain where they have lived for so long. 

 

View the Damien Gallery

Father Damien deVeuster

The Damien Centre provides space to welcome users of Emmaus House and others who experience the need to shelter from hard weather. It provides a place of friendship where they can relax and enjoy a little company and light refreshments in those daylight hours when Emmaus House is otherwise engaged because of, for example, cleaning, food preparation, group activities, etc. It is a place where people can drop in, find companionship and a cup of tea, and read the daily newspapers, play cards or watch television. The Damien Centre helps to avoid so much of the suffering, humiliation and rejection of so many marginalised people and helps maintain a sense of respect for their dignity.

 

 

Telephone: 020 8993 6096