This year, I discovered some lepers who are forced to live behind a mountain, 5 km straight from my village. I don’t want to make a detour of 30 km, on foot of course, to go around the mountain, so I have to climb it: about three hours of acrobatics and moving on all fours over a heap of cutting and burning rocks.
For normal villages, doctors are a problem and a burden.
These lepers have never received visits or help of any kind: it will be a crazy adventure, and I cannot leave them like that.
There are more than 40 families, all more or less affected … even children.
For the grownups, there are rotting limbs, fingers, feet and hands that fall off, one after the other, ravaged faces. Lots of work and many worries!
My life is spent largely on the slopes, climbing the mountains (walking 200 km every month) going from one valley to another, debating day and night in pagan villages, lodging in their homes, teaching Christians and catechumens, healing bodies.
I am only a missionary whose main work is exploring these totally pagan regions.
Circular letter of Blessed Marcel Denis, December 1957
(Picture taken by himself in the village of the lepers)