World Leprosy Day
27 Jan 2019

For more than 50 years, on the last Sunday of January, thousands of people across the globe have stopped to remember those who suffer the horrendous effects of leprosy.
The Leprosy Mission encourages individuals, churches and community groups to observe World Leprosy Day through spoken word and prayer. Many Australians think of leprosy as an ancient disease that was eradicated many years ago. But every year, hundreds of thousands of children, women and men discover they have leprosy. For many centuries, leprosy stigmatized those affected because there was no cure. Those who had the disease had to live with the disabilities that are so common in leprosy – they simply had no choice. All they could hope for is a kind and compassionate friend who would take pity on them.
One such individual was Father Damien, a priest who went to live in the leprosy colony of Molokai in Hawaii in 1873. He spent the rest of his life there, caring for those affected by leprosy. He contracted the disease during his time on Molokai and died in 1889. Raoul Follereau, the founder of World Leprosy Day, wrote, “What the world needs is a universal flood of charity and I wish the celebration of Father Damien could one day illuminate the World Leprosy Day in the Universal Church so that it can teach human beings to love each other.”

World Leprosy Day helps to focus on the need of the very poorest of all people – those affected by leprosy. It helps to tell the story to people who simply do not know that leprosy still exists and that it can be cured. It also helps raise funds in Australia so that those with leprosy can be cured and cared for.

World Leprosy Day