This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 2 -- Feast of Blessed Jan Beyzym

I know the clothes give it away, but look at these three mugs.  Which one was beatified in 2002 for work with the lepers of Madagascar? In spite of his pending sainthood, Jan Beyzym (top right) makes Edward G. Robinson (top left) and James Cagney (second tier) look like nice guys.
Father Jan Beyzym was the son of a Polish freedom fighter, ordained a Jesuit in 1881.  He worked for seventeen years teaching at Jesuit College before hearing his vocation to help those suffering with Hansen's Disease.  
TANGENT ALERT:  I just learned that leprosy is also known as Hansen's Disease.  I must wonder why Hansen would put his/her name on it, when it had already been identified?  I mean, do you really want to claim something that has that much misery associated with it?  Though I suppose that Hansen did a big favor to those afflicted by the disease.  Tell someone you have leprosy and they run away screaming; tell them you have Hansen's disease and they'll ask what it is.
The lepers of Madagascar lived in shacks in the desert without any furniture.  Often, they starved to death rather than dying of the disease.   Beyzym initiated programs of nutrition and sanitation to arrest the progress of the disease, and began a longterm capital project to build a hospital for the lepers.  It took nine years of effort, but eventually was constructed.  
Beyzym once wrote that "we must be like the merchants of the earth: we must always aim at a greater gain."    Of course his bottom line was the net comfort added to the most distressed people of the earth.  So what if he looks like a gangster? 

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