Description and Interpretation of a Dream
The following is my description of a dream I had around the year 2000. This Dream was more real than any I have ever had. At the time I had no idea I would be diagnosed with a bone disease. This disease left me, like Damien, unable to walk without the use of a cane in my right hand. My leg was usually fractured and I lived with chronic pain. Knowing this beforehand, he came and spoke to encourage me that one day we would be young again and run together!
I was walking through a Cathedral with a young priest. The ceiling was gone and everything within was covered with a three-inch layer of dust. There were birds descending upon, resting on and rising from the altar. As we walked together, he pointed out the alcoves within the walls of the church. He said the names of Saints whose bones were buried there. I said to him “You must be buried here!” Damien replied to me, “No . . . I must be buried with Florentine bells . . . they are my vanity!”
He took my right arm and interwove it with his left. Held between our two hands, and close to our hearts, was a wooden challis. He said: “Let us run, for once again we are young!” The two of us were only about 23 years of age at this point in time. As we ran down the aisle of the church we drank from this challis. We approached a pew where he abruptly stopped and saying, “I must pray”, he knelt down and bowed his face to the ground. I sat upon the pew to his right and as I did I noticed a man was sitting to my left! I said, “I’m sorry, I did not see you there!” When Damien sat up he was a leper priest. His face was worn and his robe was tattered from the work of God . . . he was old again. With a smile of introduction upon his face, he said to me, “This is Maigret!”
As I lay praying for understanding, our Father gave me a song, The Bells of Father Damien, to remember the vision. Through the years God has opened my eyes to that which at the time I did not see. My earthly father died in Kailua Kona, Hawaii before my vision and his ashes are scattered over the ocean within sight of a church built by Damien’s hands. During my father’s illness, a woman had prayed every day to Father Damien asking for him to heal my father. It was shortly after his death that Damien came to see me (The Visit). I have no doubt that my father, knowing how I love Damien, asked him to walk with me.
When Damien visited me, I had a yet undiagnosed bone marrow disease that would leave me, like Damien, unable to walk without the use of a cane in my right hand. My leg was usually fractured and I lived in chronic pain. And so, he spoke to encourage me regarding when he and I would be young again. Together, he showed me how it felt run!
I was puzzled when he pointed out to me the burial sites of Saints within the walls of a Church. I did not know of this practice until visiting Europe for the first time a few years ago. I came upon head stones within churches where Saints were buried and I understood the authenticity of the dream. I have called this a dream and also a vision but in reality Damien actually visited me. He walked with me and he held my hand as I might hold your hand! As a child, Joseph de Veuster being from Flanders, Belgium, loved bells. They call the angels to worship God. Even Damien’s vanity is to the Glory of God!
While I was writing this letter, I went to the Internet to ensure the proper spelling of Msgr. Maigret’s name. Maigret is the name of the Bishop who allowed Damien to stay on Molokai. Much to my amazement I read, “After his death, Msgr. Maigret was entombed in the crypt below the sanctuary.” I sat sobbing while I looked at the very spot where I had seen Damien kneel to pray. I sat upon the bench to the right of Maigret’s headstone with him while Damien, with his face to the ground, prayed! I have never been in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. I have never known the name of Louis Desire Maigret! Nor have I ever seen his headstone.
I asked myself why Damien held a challis in his hand . . . for me. As I read more about him, I found the saddest moment in his entire life was not when he became aware that he had leprosy nor was it when he buried thousands in his Garden of God. His saddest moment was when he was denied the privilege of giving Holy Communion to his brothers because he was a leper! This is why his face had such joy as he offered the challis of our Lord to me, a sinner saved only by His grace. Jesus has given Damien a Cup of Comfort for weary travelers like myself. Damien did not heal a single leper. They all died! My father died. It was Damien’s compassion while dying that made him a Saint. He reaches beyond these walls to reach “lepers” like myself. Regarding these walls that are transcended by Damien, Robert Louis Stevenson (a Protestant) wrote in his Open Letter to Dr. Hyde, “He was the Father of us all if only we were able to see it!”
It is with my deepest humility that I share this “Visit” with you.