St Damien as depicted on the reredos in the AIDS memorial chapel in the Episcopal Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood, California.
A saint who has always impressed me is St Damien of Molokai in Hawaii. I saw a film about him when I was quite young and it stuck in my mind. he was probably one of the 1st God People I ever heard of (the other being Mary Slessor of Calabar courtesy of a battered paperback in my grandparents house entitled "White Queen of the Cannibals" - not a very PC title but it again grabbed my childish attention!).
Damien gave his life heroically ministering to the ultimate outcasts of his day - the lepers. he died of the disease himself at the age of 49 on April 15 1889. He was canonised 3 years ago. It seems fitting to recall him and his example today. To quote president Obama: "In our own time, as millions around the world suffer from disease, especially the pandemic of HIV/AIDS, we should draw on the example of Father Damien’s resolve in answering the urgent call to heal and care for the sick.". and of course the current Pope: Father Damian, "teaches us to choose the good fight - not those that lead to division, but those that gather us together in unity."
Blessed Damien, ora pro nobis.