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Welcome Leprosy Out Of Love For Her Husband

( Originally Published 1902 )

AMONG the many instances of heroism which have been recorded, few have been more noble than those of Catholic priests and Protestant missionaries who have turned their backs upon everything dear in life, and life itself, to minister to the physical and spiritual wants of those confined in the leper settlements. A notable instance of this kind of heroism has come to recent notice, illustrating the singular devotion of a wife to her husband. Lui Hu-lapa, a talented and promising young Hawaiian, married a beautiful native girl, with whom he lived happily for five years, when he discovered unmistakable evidences of leprosy in his body. A knowledge of the fact filled his soul with horror. Instead of concealing the first hints of the disease, as he might have done, his fear of spreading the contagion to the general public, and especially to his lovely wife, led him to seek an early removal to a place of isolation. His wife earnestly protested against his leaving her, asking the privilege of running away with him to some distant island where she might live with him until death alone should part them. But he objected to such a sacrifice on her part, and hurried away to the leper settlement, from which no traveler ever returns. Distracted at her separation from him, she bathed herself in the juice of a plant which produced an effect on the body that very nearly resembled the disease of leprosy, and presented herself at the Kahili station, as a leper. The Board of Examiners, after careful investigation, decided that she did not have the disease. Then she sent the Board of Health the following letter :

"All the members of the Board of Health will know that I am Luhia, wife of Lui Hulapa, leper. I painted myself, and gave myself up as a suspect, with the idea that, by so doing, I would be able to enter the leper settlement as the nurse for my husband. So, in the apology for what I did, I humbly ask the Board of Health to allow me to go to the settlement as a nurse.

"Your obedient servant,


On inquiry, it was found that an additional nurse could be used, and Hulapa is to-day with her husband in Molokai—a martyr to her devotion to him.

Wives under sudden impulse have often risked, and even given their lives to save their husbands. But here is a woman who deliberately gives herself up to a living death, and that, too, without any possible hope of saving her husband's life; but out of pure affection for him, and a determination to be by his side. Life without him was misery to her, and misery with him was joy. All the queens do not wear royal robes, nor crowns of gold ; this sublime heroism will be crowned with immortality.

These two Hawaiians are converts to the Christian faith, and will live out their lingering life of disease in patience, with the prospect of an everlasting companionship.

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