Leprosy Philippines and the Catholic Church August 20, 2015Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Archdiocese of Manila, Year of Mercy.
Tags: Franciscans, Leprosy
In 1632, the Emperor of Japan, knowing that the Spanish Catholic Church had an interest in caring for those afflicted with disease, sent 134 Japanese known sufferers of leprosy by ship to Manila. The Spanish Franciscans, initially reluctant to accept the shipment from the emperor, eventually took in the Japanese patients and housed them in the Hospital of San Lazaro in Manila.
The purpose of the hospitals and leprosy establishments on the islands at that time wasn’t to eradicate the disease or segregate it from the rest of the population but instead to provide humanitarian aid. The Hospital of San Lazaro in Manila was run by Franciscan Friars until September 1898, when it was turned over to the American authorities.
H.W Wade and J. A Basa, “Culion Leper Colony,” American Journal of Tropical Medicine, 3 (Sep. 1923)
Burkholder, S., & Hart, I. (2008, November 21). History of the San Lazaro Hospital.