Molokai Prigrimage St. Michael's & All Angels

The beginning of our pilgrimage; landing on the island of Molokai...

"I came to Molokai as a spiritual pilgrim on the 67th anniversary of my birth. I was yearning to enter the mystery of God – a vivid glimpse, a full-bodied taste, an honest feel of the eternal realm her on terra firma. There was a special sunrise that day, which was captured on film by Teri Waros. I still linger in that sunrise breaking over Kalaupapa Peninsula, as I reflect on Creator God’s birthday gift to me." Phyllis Meighen
"Dear Fr. Bill, Your gift is received with gratitude. What has been given to me freely, I can give freely and I look forward to next year. As a final thought for your pilgrimage group from the Molokai experience: Damien, Marianne, Dutton, and all who seek union with God do not allow others to define who they are. They grow spiritually to Divine Intimacy realizing Jesus knows who they are. By not trying to define others, all is directed to Divine Love…there is no burnout. God Bless and Aloha Fr. Bill Petrie, sscc Heal Me, Hands of Jesus, by Michael Perry Heal me, hands of Jesus, and search out all my pain; restore my hope, remove my fear, and bring me peace again. Cleanse me, blood of Jesus, take bitterness away; let me forgive as one forgiven, and bring me peace today. Know me, mind of Jesus, and show me all my sin; dispel the memories of guilt, and bring me peace within. Fill me, joy of Jesus; anxiety shall cease, and heaven’s serenity be mine, for Jesus brings me peace! "This is a lovely affirming work from Father Bill Petrie to all of our Pilgrims
Spiritually moving, we were honored to meet a living Saint who was among us..Father Bill Petrie who inspired us, touched our hearts with his amazing life story from at an early age...who was driven by passion to find a way and did success in working with Mother Theresa to help the lepers in India for 25 years. Now he continues his work through God working with the remaining lepers in Kalaupapa /Kalawao.
My God Moment: Listening to Fr. Bill Petrie at the top of Kalaupapa trail with the cool wind whipping around us, hearing the joy as he described his calling, was truly a God Moment for me! To see and hear someone who was so determined and called at such a young age was inspirational. Then, to follow through with Faith, despite the lack of assistance, funds, or response showed that he was truly a an who believes that God will provide! His continued work with patients with Hansen’s Disease, his travels with Mother Teresa, and the exploits he experienced were a wonderful example of a committed Christian! Sharing some of the trials that he experience, not only from his superiors, but also from the patients was eye opening. His ability to overcome those adversities was also inspirational. ​​​​​-Jo Woltman
Father Bill Petrie spoke to us on two occasions, linking what happened in Kalaupapa in the 1800s to what is still happening in other parts of the world in 2015. People are still deformed by Hansen’s Disease, outcast, neglected, and abused, and priests still serve them. Inspired as a teenager in Arizona by a lecture about Father Damien, Father Petrie went on to become a missionary priest who worked with Mother Teresa in India for 25 years. His entire life has been dedicated to serving those in the most miserable circumstances and sharing the light of Christ. ​​​​-Lindsay Kamm
"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends..." Damien lived and died by these words, and by his life and death he became a saint.
Looking down toward Kalaupapa
"The plain is in the form of a tongue of land, three sides being washed by the ocean, the fourth or continuation of the base of the tongue ending in perpendicular cliffs, washed by the sea, affording no egress, or ingress, except by boat or canoe." Dr. Robert Mouritz
Pilgrims enjoying and posing in front of the spectacular yet historic view of Kalaupapa promontory
Our main home during our spiritual journey
The pilgrims main home away from home, located on the beautifully deserted beach was the perfect setting to reflect and pray together during our pilgrimage
meditate...
pray & bond...
This was an incredibly diverse group of pilgrims. We were on different missions, on different journeys, yet united in this incredible experience of exploring the history of two incredible saints. The varied conversations that I was privileged to be a part of were awe-inspiring, energizing, and educational. Some of these folks I’ve known for a while, others I’ve just met, yet we were able to engage in some wonderful sharing of ideas and experiences during our brief time together. I will cherish those moments. ​​​​​-Jo Woltman
Reverend Jim Loughren hosted a mass at Grace Episcopal Church
Music brings this small Molokai community together once a week...to rejoice in blessings and friendships
Lifelong residents of Molokai, simple life filled with joy, love and lifetime friendships
Purdy's Natural Macadamia Nut Farm
Molokai Museum and Cultural Center SugarMill
"He showed his love by taking care of the orphans. I know because I was one of them". Merle Meheula
Museum visit with Father Bill Petrie and Father Bill Miller
“Religion points to that area of human experience where, one way or another, human beings come upon a mystery as a summons to pilgrimage.” - Buechner
St. Joseph Church built by Father Damien
I love to travel and experience different cultures, foods, outlooks. I find myself comparing my recent trip to the Mediterranean, specifically my visit to Vatican City in Rome, to my experiences on Molokai. I was in awe of the magnificence, grandeur, and size of the masterpieces, marble columns, and the enormous altars. I felt quite insignificant in the presence of the greatness, immense power, and incredible beauty of the paintings, statuary, and frescoes. The wealth of the Roman Catholic Church is incredible! However, the true commitment of someone who followed in the footsteps of Jesus by giving up all worldly goods, working with those on the outskirts of civilization, caring for their flock, is what Christianity is all about! The devotion that was manifest in the works of Fr. Damien and Mother Marianne was solid. That they worked in the trenches, asking for assistance from their church, yet not receiving any financial aid or moral support was truly mind-boggling. Nevertheless, they kept working anyway, and even harder. Their spirits were never broken. I’m sure there were numerous trying times, yet their faith, and calling by God, was paramount, so they continued to persevere. Listening to Frs. Jim and Bill and their plights, people who do not receive any trickle down from the heads of the Roman Catholic Church (who wallow in the incredible wealth), I wondered, “What can be done to help those who are doing the grunt work? How can they disperse funds to make them readily available to help those who could use it to help their flocks?” Feeling the mana – the positive hopeful energy – in those churches, especially St. Joseph’s, was incredibly moving. It struck a chord deep within my soul, and I hope to be able to continue to help my community in ways that resonate with my soul. ​​​​​-Jo Woltman
The loving hands of Father Damien
Statues to Father Damien and Joseph Dutton
Our Lady of Seven Sorrows
"One of my God Moments happened when we visited Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, one of the churches St. Damien established on Molokai. Our devotion/meditation there was on St. Marianne. Father Bill shared Mother Marianne’s response when she was informed about the difficult work that lay ahead for her at Kalaupapa: “I am hungry for the work and I wish with all my heart to be one of the chosen Ones, whose privilege it will be to sacrifice themselves for the salvation of the souls of the poor Islanders…I am not afraid of any disease…” I spent time reflecting upon her deep devotion and faith. Walking out of the church, my cell phone rang. I was momentarily shocked – the cell phone reception on the island was spotty, at best, and I had mostly given up on using it for anything more than a camera. When I looked down, the Caller ID showed “Doctor.” Shocked all over again, I tentatively answered the call. After a friendly greeting, my doctor began, “I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to you [it had taken a month instead of the couple of days she expected], but that skin biopsy we took really threw everyone for a loop. No one could figure out what was going on with it. We had to send it off to the ‘supreme pathologists’ who finally determined that what you had was the beginnings of skin cancer.” Shocked now to my core, tears came to my eyes. I was amazed that my wonderful doctor (who finally believed me that something was wrong, when others dismissed my concerns) had connected with me at this moment. She had no idea where I was or what I was doing, and I didn’t bother to tell her; the tears just streamed down my cheeks. She went on to explain that the cell structure was already changing and I was months away from melanoma. “But,” she said, “You don’t have anything to be afraid of, we got it all.” My heart knew she was right. I could joyfully echo Mother Marianne’s words, “I am not afraid of any disease.” This was truly God’s work!"Kate Cline
Hallawa Valley
Church in Hallawa Valley
“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.” -Abraham Heschel
Three ways to get down to Kalaupapa from the topside....walk, ride a mule or fly..

A group of ambitious hiking pilgrims following the very steep trail which is 2000 feet above the peninsula. The trail is a total of 3.5 miles of uneven trail with numerous switchbacks

Many acts of kindness and generosity took place among the pilgrims, especially on the day of the hike to Kalaupapa: John loaned Joanne his shoe so she could protect her bandaged toe; Julie gave me her seat on the plane after the sole of my hiking boot came unglued on the descent…But the one person who provided us with a living example of self-sacrifice in the tradition of Father Damien and Mother Marianne was Tom Hazelton. Truly, he was a “brother on the road” to John Lydgate after he fell off his mule. Tom did not hesitate to abandon the main event of our pilgrimage and to “walk the mile and bear the load” with John. As a physical therapist, he was uniquely qualified, but he was under no obligation to give up all that he had invested in the trip to Kalaupapa. That he did so joyfully is a testament to all that is good. ​​​​-Lindsay Kamm
Another “selfish” God Moment: When I was frantically trying to figure out how I was going to be able to cushion my injured toe on the mule ride down to Kalaupapa, my housemates, Marcia and John, came up with a suggestion that I use John’s specially designed Altra, a kind of shoe specifically designed to have a larger, roomier toe area! I’ve wanted to go down to Kalaupapa from the first time I saw it from the lookout over 20 years ago. However, I was never able to go when I’ve been on Molokai, due to time constraints and a different focus. Fr. Bill provided an opportunity, and the Harter’s made it possible. What are the odds that this would enable me to fulfill my dream? ​​​​​-Jo Woltman
Another group of pilgrims chose to ride down the mountainside by mules as has been done since the trail was cleared.
"We cannot travel here by either train or trap and not always by foot. How do you think we manage these long journeys? With good mules and excellent horses" Father Damien
Pilgrim Riders coming down the mountain...one rider, pilgrim John Lydgate was not able to complete the journey that his grandfather had taken in 1870 as an assistant to Dr. William Hillebrand. The riderless mule represents our injured pilgrim.
The journey down on those mules was even more than I could have ever imagined! The mule skinners kept telling us to “trust in our mules”, which we could easily translate to “Trust in God. He will provide and carry you forth.” Though the mules seemed to take the outer track along those switchbacks, they never slipped and continued plodding steadily along with our weights on their backs. All the way down and all the way back – steadfast, surefooted, safely. Happy Trails! ​​​​​-Jo Woltman
and by small plane..

A quick way too down with fellow pilgrims who were unable to travel by foot or mule...

“Allowing God’s love, joy and peace to enter us on this journey brings us closer to Him. Leaves us wanting to endure our sufferings with dignity and grace. Focus on light, goodness, purity, love and forgiveness and you can’t go wrong. Allow your heart to be filled with those things and keep them within you after prayer ceases in order to become the people He wants us to be. Remember, there may be much darkness in today’s world, but if we allow God’s light to enter us as we pray, we can then shine that light brightly, as we lead by example to others in our daily lives. Become a beacon of light for God today through prayer and allowing Him to enter your mind, body, heart and soul. Shine His light wherever you go. Who knows where that light may fall and how it might change someone’s life – and eventually the world.” ​​​​-L.H.White
Na Pali Coast
The gun metal clouds a vestige— ​dark night of the soul; ​The fiery clouds a promise— ​bright days of joy and freedom; The sunrise over the horizon only a tease— ​​a reflection on the water, ​not yet revealing God’s full glory. Day breaks over Kalaupapa— ​​a community of exiles, the Body of Christ broken; ​Day breaks over my life— ​​I too know exile, I know brokenness; ​Light bursts forth from the sea ​​as a volcano spewing new life into the world. ​Life is changed, transformed, new— ​​God’s redeeming Love in Christ is real, ​​as clouds disappear only to reappear another time; ​A cosmic dance comes into view— ​dark and light dance as partners, ​exile and reconciliation a single movement of grace, ​brokenness and wholeness in God’s loving enbrace ​​The deep and beautiful mystery of God ​​​in the Light of the Resurrection. ​​​​​-Phyllis Meighen
"His Highness expressed the wish that one of us would visit Molokai. I saw coming the realization of the project of the Providence." . Father Damien
"A steamer landed me here, together with a batch of fifty lepers whom the authorities had collected." Father Damien
"I came to Molokai without bringing anything with me. Send me a case of wine, some spiritual books and others for studying, some shirts, trousers, shoes, the bell,rosaries, catechisms, alter bread, small and large, a bag of flour, and a lockbox. I would appreciate a sack of rice, a supply of coffee, and a mule as soon as they can be sent; also a horse with saddle and a bridle. P.S. Don't forget to inquire about the chest with 4 drawers where my tools and clothes are. This is the fourth week since I have been without a change of clothes." Father Damien
"He was very hospitable and made a practice of meeting the weekly steamer at Kalaupapa. For a long time the steamer arrived very early in the morning, and, in order to reach the landing in time, he used to say Mass, on those mornings, at four o'clock, so that he was among the foremost in meeting any passengers." Joseph Dutton
St. Francis Church
Father Damien at age 33, in 1873, the year he volunteered to serve the Kalawao settlement. Now and forever...Saint Damien
Traveling from Kalapaupa to Kalawao; a settlement when Father Damien arrived was an isolated place on the promontory on the remote island of Molokai. Suffers were rounded up by armed police and shipped away, condemned to serve the life sentence of their disease out of sight, in exile.

The settlement was a bare promontory, pounded by surf and walled in on the landward side by a Pali, a cliff of more than a thousand feet-a natural prison.

"The place as regards to scenery is grand, gloomy and bleak. Mighty mountain walls descending sheer along the whole face of the island into a sea unusually deep; the front of the mountain ivied and furred with clinging forest, one iridescent cliff; about half from east to west, the low, bare, stony promontory edged in between the cliff and the ocean." Robert Louis Stevenson.
St. Philomena Church
"There are many empty places in the church, but in the cemetery there is hardly room left to dig the graves". Father Damien
Father Damien's Gravesite
"The other day I could not help but be annoyed because someone had started to dig a grave close to the big cross, right at the spot that I had reserved for myself a long time ago! By insisting, I kept my place vacant. ". Father Damien
"Father Damien was architect, constructor, carpenter and painter, instructing and working, and yet finding time to attend the sick and dying, dress the hundreds of mutilated beings who came to him for salve and bandages, besides conscientiously administering every holy office of the church. He also inculcated temperance, sexual morals, family life, the avoidance of gambling, cleanliness of person and attire, and instructed the people in gardening, cooking, and many little household arts, adding greatly to their comfort." G.W. Woods
All those people, all those people, All Those People whose lives were wrenched away from them in one of the most cruel ways imaginable. One day a Beloved member of a family, a community, and the next, a pariah sentenced to life on a remote strip of land – a place of immense beauty, but no welcome; a place unknown and inhospitable. No arms welcome them home to live and to heal. No kiss on the cheek and no lei around their necks; no shelter, no food, no medicine, no doctors, no nurses, no spiritual guidance or comfort. In the stroke of a moment, and ordered by the king, they are no longer human beings. Into this HELL comes Fr. Damien to offer what was not provided. He brings LOVE AND BELOVEDNESS to the rejected lepers of Molokai. He comes to be the Incarnated Christ to the unwanted and to show them that the POWER, HEALING AND PRESENCE OF GOD has not and never will reject them nor leave them. He is clothed in the armor of God; a warrior for LOVE. ​​​​-The Rev. Ann Symington
More than 8000 people were exiled to Kalaupapa from Hawaii society from 1866 to 1969
" As the cemetery, the church and the presbytery form a single park, I am the sole night-watchman of this fine garden of the dead- all my spiritual children- I find pleasure in going there to say my rosary and to meditate on the eternal happiness which a great number of them already enjoy, on the eternal unhappiness of some who would not obey me. The cemetery and the dying-ward are my finest books of meditation, both to nourish my own heart and to prepare my instructions." Father Damien
Mother Marianne
"I knew I could not last long,and many years I have been begging our Dear Lord to send someone to fill my place-And now I see he has answered my prayer, praise, glory and thanks be to our great and Mighty God." Father Damien about Mother Marianne
Flight back to topside, perfect timing as we landed to see fellow pilgrim John Lydgate being prepared to fly to Oahu for treatment
When I with salted tears upon my cheeks Do look beyond the endless tide of time And see the sails of ships sad peaks, My youth is furling, flying, towards its prime. Wishing me free like a bird in flight Back to the rock of birth where love caressed My future be in warmth; My nest there blest. I’m but a speck of sand upon the shore, My future none can see. The tides, they tug and pull my soul And wash it out to sea. ​​​​-Julie Hagensen
The trip to Molokai and the experience – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – was awe-inspiring. It felt like the pilgrims on the trip were hand selected by God to come together for a greater good and for all our individual journeys. I continue to be changed: I continue to see miracles around me that is connected to Saint Damien. I am filled with love that surrounds me; I cry when I see so much compassion around in everyday life; I see miracles that I never saw before; I am touched! I have seen the continued miracles of Saint Damien and St. Marianne through my mothers miraculous journey of recovery of her brain infection. She insisted she must wear my St. Damien/St. Marianne medallion during and after her emergency surgery for months throughout her recovery. She is now declared healed. She turns 90 in January. I am motivated to share and give of myself to others. ​​​​-Deborah Gillikin
Molokai's spirit is full of awe inspiring miracles that can change one's heart forever...
John Lydgate healing after his fall from the mule...visit in Oahu by the Harters

Acknowledgements: Thanks to so many pilgrims (John Harter, Kate Cline, Ann Symington, Julie Hagensen, Joanne Woltmon, Kathy Richardson, Lindsay Kamm, Ben Gillikin and myself) on this trip from Saint Michaels & All Angels who shared their photographs to make this project possible. A special thank you to Kate Cline who gathered quotes from our fellow pilgrims who shared their thoughts that were added into this collection. There were many additional small and big miracles that happened throughout our journey and afterwards that are not mentioned here. We are forever touched and blessed by our journey together. Gratitude to Father Bill Miller for leading his flock on this magical journey... Deborah Gillikin

"When one serves God, one is happy anywhere". Father Damien
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Deborah Gillikin
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