Deny Lambert

Deny Lambert describes a panel at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe that shows the U.S. Navy sailing past the Hawaiian island of Molokai in 1908.

One of the battleships is the USS Vermont, dispatched by President Teddy Roosevelt in honor of Brother Dutton, who returns a salute.

Dutton was born on the site of the present church on April 27, 1843.

The parishioners at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Stowe celebrated the 179th birthday for servant of God Joseph Dutton. Born in Stowe in 1843, Dutton is remembered for his 44 years serving the lepers on Molokai, Hawaii.

Two others who served with Dutton are now saints — St. Damien of Belgium and St. Marianne Cope of the Sisters of St. Francis, Syracuse. Bishop of Hawaii, Larry Silva, has advanced the cause for Dutton’s sainthood.

Rev. Jon Schnobrich and senior parishioner Deny Lambert have been leading the parish to celebrate Dutton’s April birthday to continue the lesson of his service to mankind. The celebration embraced the Hawaiian roots of the Molokai leper colony.

Parishioners enjoyed Hawaiian food made by Nancy and Rich Haab. Claudia Kaneli’a Goddard played Hawaiian hymns and songs on guitar and ukulele. The Gracious Ladies of NYC taught everyone the spiritual meaning of the hula. Sister Cheryl of the Sisters of Saint Francis visited from Syracuse. Of course, many other parishioners contributed time and energy to make the celebration rival a Superbowl victory party.

Two special videos were shown to elevate the magnitude of Dutton’s service. Heath Eiden created the story of the Blessed Sacrament Church artworks that French artist Andre Girard painted on the church in 1950 to demonstrate life on Molokai. The details are told by two artists who restored the art, Matt Strong of Stowe and Josephine Belloso of Long Island. Belloso studied under Girard.

The second video is a soon-to-be-released movie, “The Wind and the Reckoning,” written by John Fusco of Morristown. The story takes place in 1893 and tells the story of a Hawaiian family who run and hide from authorities rather than accept banishment to Molokai. The fugitives were fair game for bounty hunters.

The teaser tells how the COVID-19 epidemic impacted the cast, tying together the impact of the virus and leprosy on families. Look for a special showing of the movie at Stowe Cinema.

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