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Leprosy for Laughs


Okay, I admit that is a provocative title. My sophomores just got done watching "Molokai: The Story of Fr. Damien" and had to write papers about it.
If you're not familiar with Fr. Damien - now St. Damien - he was a Belgian priest who voluntarily spent the last 16 years of his life caring for the lepers on Molokai. It was a notorius "outpost": dreadful cases of the infectious disease sent there to die on a rocky, unforgiving island with no law. Watch the movie; it's great.
Now, my students had to write a reflection on this. God love 'em: some of the kids just couldn't get their facts straight. I had Fr. Damien serving the "leapers" (giving me thoughts of people jumping off the Hawaiian cliffs) and "leopards" (a circus atmosphere with ring-master Damien). But my fave by far was this one: "the island of Molokai in the Leper Sea". Really. Could I make this stuff up????
Teaching: it ain't ever dull.

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