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The State

November 26, 1987

The Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii was granted ownership of a trunk full of memorabilia that belonged to Father Damien de Veuster, the "Leper Priest of Molokai," in the 19th Century. Solano County Superior Court Judge Clint Peterson ordered the old steamer trunk and its contents returned to Hawaii, where Father Damien, a candidate for Catholic sainthood, worked among lepers on Molokai for 16 years until he succumbed to the disease in 1889. The trunk was part of the estate of Godwin Swift, a San Francisco lawyer, who died in Vallejo in 1960 without leaving a will. He had inherited it from his father, Dr. Sidney Swift, who attended Damien at his death. For 27 years, the trunk sat in a corner of the Solano County coroner's office in Fairfield.

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