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#1000Speak For Compassion

Today I join hands with bloggers around the world to take part in a fantastic initiative.

#1000Speak For Compassion

It all started with a post by Lizzi Rogers, entitled ‘We All Need The Village’. This was taken up by Yvonne Spence and turned into this wonderful project.

Today, 20th February, bloggers are doing this:


What does Compassion mean to me?

For me, whenever I hear the word compassion, I recall Henri Nouwen’s provocative essay on the subject. I realized then what a powerful virtue true compassion is. Compassion is not merely kindness. No, it’s putting ourselves in the place of another. Walking in her shoes. Feeling his pain. Looking beyond on the obvious. Reaching out of our comfort zone, to truly ‘be’ with another.

Compassion is hard to practice. But without it, we can no longer be truly human.

Today, I am reminded of one of my childhood heroes, Father Damien, who came to be known as ‘The Apostle of the Lepers’*, and was later canonized to be a saint. Born in Belgium, he became a Catholic priest and was sent to Honolulu, Hawaii. When volunteers were called for to go on a short-term trip to minister to people who had contracted Hansen’s Disease (formerly referred to as ‘leprosy’) and were exiled on the small island of Molokai, Fr Damien signed up.

As you must be aware, leprosy was a most dreaded disease and people were shunned and ostracised. Damien was sent with this warning from his Bishop:You must avoid any form of contagion. If they pass around a pipe [a common cultural occurrence] you must refuse it. Above all, you must not join in meals and eat from the communal pot with your fingers, as others do. Even the saddle that a leper has sat upon must be taboo to you, and I forbid you to sleep in the hut of a ‘leper.’*

Father Damien was deeply moved by the plight of these people, who were literally cast upon this island, abandonded and in dire need of medical, psychological and spiritual attention. He decided to stay on in Molokai. There he ministered to the needs of the people, including empowering them to build houses for themselves and the community. Finally, he himself contracted and died from the effects of leprosy.

This to me embodies true compassion.


Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human – Henri Nouwen

#1000Speak For Compassion

The plain fact is that the planet does not need
more successful people.
But it does desperately needs
more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers,
and lovers of every kind.
David Orr

*We no longer refer to people as lepers, but as suffering from Hansen’s Disease.


What you can do:
Join the initiative. Blog, link and share about compassion.
If you’d like to blog about this and need a prompt, you will find inspiration here.
Go visit this #1000Speak link to find and links to posts of all the voices speaking for compassion today.
Like #1000Speak on Facebook
If you’re not a blogger, please read, comment and share as many links as you can on social media with the hashtag #1000Speak.


  1. Lux Ganzon Lux Ganzon February 26, 2015

    The world needs compassion direly especially today.
    Good job in joining this advocacy. May God bless the work of your hands.
    Lux Ganzon recently posted..Letter From My Future SelfMy Profile

  2. Irish Carter Irish Carter February 26, 2015

    Hi Dear and I hope you are very proud of yourself for being part of something so important and special. I love this concept of writers joining forces and discussing compassion. Plus it kind of brings us into a membership party ya know. An association to speak.

    I am so glad that the world is getting a little better with stopping their hypocritical ways of judging so many for thier health ailments. I try to tell myself the world just like the people in it have to take baby steps to change in order to make a major change of creation around them. Look what you did today? AMAZING!

    Have an awesome week.


    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | March 2, 2015

      Thanks, Irish. I learned about this at the last moment, but just had to add my two pennies to the wonderful initiative. I appreciate your words and all you are!
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Perfect RejectMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | February 25, 2015

      It is, Suzy. Thanks for your comment. I’m still playing catch up with the posts and have yet to visit yours. I’ll be by soon.

  3. Debbie D. Debbie D. February 24, 2015

    What a great initiative this is! Yes, Father Damien was the true embodiment of compassion. I remember reading about him in school. David Orr’s quote is spot on, as well.
    Debbie D. recently posted..COLONOSCOPY: NOTHING TO FEAR!My Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | March 2, 2015

      Thanks, Debbie. I can still remember my grandmother reading that story out to me! I continue to be amazed. Years later, my father worked in a leprosy rehabilitation home and we learned how not to fear the disease at all. But in those times, with no knowledge and no treatment, Father Damien was brave!
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Food In Kolkata CallingMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | March 2, 2015

      It was, Teresa. Hopefully there will be more.
      And you know how moved I was by your post! You’re a fantastic Mom!
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Food In Kolkata CallingMy Profile

  4. Janine Janine February 24, 2015

    Fantastic prompt and post. This ties in with a podcast I listened to today about compassion – it covered self-compassion as before we can be compassionate we need to show some compassion to yourselves!
    Janine recently posted..Rebuilding the remnants of shattered dreamsMy Profile

  5. Dana Dana February 24, 2015

    Certainly a story of true compassion – the world needs more people like Father Damien. I did not know his story – thank you!
    Dana recently posted..Everyone has a gift to bringMy Profile

  6. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando February 22, 2015

    I had never heard of Father Damian . . . What a moving story! This world could surely use more people as compassionate as he was.
    Blessings, Corinne!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Conversations With GodMy Profile

  7. Aditi Aditi February 22, 2015

    Henri Nouwen truly captures the essence of compassion in that quote! Father Damien’s story is inspiring and moving! Thank you for sharing Corinne! 🙂
    Aditi recently posted..Asha #1000speakMy Profile

  8. Dorothy Johnson Dorothy Johnson February 22, 2015

    This was a wonderful post. I especially like the story of Father Damien and the full Henri Nouwen quote. Thank you for giving me much food for thought today.
    Dorothy Johnson recently posted..Rememering FriendsMy Profile

  9. Pratikshya Pratikshya February 21, 2015

    the quote tells it all… to feel other’s pain and empathize with them is the greatest act of compassion we can practice every day.. all it takes is a hug, a thank you, a smile, a word of encouragement.. and fulfilling someone’s need to be needed.. need to be understood…

  10. G Angela G Angela February 21, 2015

    Beautiful corinne and very inspiring too…. I did not know about this sharing on compassion, thanks for the links you give, I have started to think on compassion, to see if I can write a post, appreciate you for your initiative and thank you for sharing…

  11. Found In Folsom Found In Folsom February 21, 2015

    Wow…truly inspiring story, Corinne. Never heard of him before. Would like to teach my kids about him. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Vinodini Iyer Vinodini Iyer February 20, 2015

    Glad to see your post for this initiative Corinne. One thing that I realized through your post is that compassion is not merely kindness but the ability to feel the way a person does when he needs help. That indeed changes the whole way we look at compassion.
    Vinodini Iyer recently posted..The Post-Valentine’s Day PostMy Profile

  13. Considerer Considerer February 20, 2015

    This is beautiful. I think I’ve heard of him before, or another like him, but such wonderful works were done because he truly, genuinely cared. A gorgeous example for everyone.

    Thanks for joining in 1000Speak and being part of the movement. It’s awesome 🙂
    Considerer recently posted..I CAN stop beating myself up about self-compassionMy Profile

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