Saint Anthony's Chapel

In 1860, the superior of the Priests of the Sacred Hearts bought the 14th-century Sint Antonius Kapel (Saint Anthony’s Chapel).

He transformed it into a place of pilgrimage in honour of Saint Joseph. As a result of the popularity of the pilgrimages here, expansion and renovation of the chapel became a necessity in the 1960’s. Still today thousands of pilgrims descend on the chapel every March to honour Saint Joseph.

But even more people from all over the world visit Saint Anthony’s Chapel for the crypt of Father Damien, whose remains have rested here since 1936. In the church, you can follow the life journey of this ‘Greatest Belgian of all time’ which is depicted here on several photo panels.*

Saint Anthony's Chapel

Saint Anthony's Chapel

Saint Anthony's Chapel

Father Damien was a Belgian priest who devoted his life to missionary work among the lepers of Molokai in Hawaii.

In place of his brother, Father Pamphile, who had been stricken by illness, he went as a missionary to the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands in 1863. He reachedHonolulu in 1864 and was ordained a priest the same year. Moved by the miserable condition of the lepers, whom the Hawaiian government deported to Kalaupapa on Molokai Island (1873), he volunteered to take charge of the settlement. He served as pastor and physician, improved water and food supplies and housing, and founded two orphanages, receiving help from other priests for only 6 of his 16 years on Molokai. In 1884 he contracted leprosy and refused cure because it would have necessitated his leaving the lepers. His remains were transferred to Leuven in 1936.

Saint Damien's Crypt

Saint Damien's Crypt

Father Damien was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

Saint Damien

*From Out and About in Leuven walking guide.

10 Comments CherryPie on Aug 8th 2015

10 Responses to “Saint Anthony’s Chapel – Leuven”

  1. ubermouth says:

    Now that’s a saint!

    Love the church. Such intricate detail,both inside and out. A real beauty!

  2. james higham says:

    And the stained glass, as usual, a treat.

  3. Astrid says:

    Father Damian is honoured in many churches. I heard of him before, a remarkable man who did very good.
    Wonderful post. Beautiful pictures.

  4. ....peter:) says:

    This is a wonderful series if photos of Saint Anthony’s Chapel Cherie… it was put out with the panels with a photo of Damien beside the altar in the first image… then as i read on it became clearer to it’s purpose… i enjoyed this photojournalist presentation….peter:)