When I was young I read of St. Damian and his work with the lepers. Cannot explain why but it was very influential. The part of the story that I missed was of Marianne Cope who took over from Fr. Damian. Now I know, as the saying goes, "the rest of the story."
To see the infinite pity of this place,
The mangled limb, the devastated face,
The innocent sufferers smiling at the rod,
A fool were tempted to deny his God.
He sees, and shrinks; but if he look again,
Lo, beauty springing from the breast of pain!--
He marks the sisters on the painful shores,
And even a fool is silent and adores.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, Kalawao, 1889