Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jonathan Hawaii Napela

I just delivered my sixth book of historical fiction to my editor. After pressing the send key, I put on my coat, mittens, and boots and went for a long walk in the snowy night. It was time to reflect on the year's work of research and writing, and to express my gratitude for being able to write about such an amazing human being.

Jonathan Hawaii Napela was born into an alii (royal) Maui family in the early 1800's, not long after Kamehameha I united the Hawaiian Islands. He was educated at the Lahainaluna School by some of the first Protestant Missionaries. He became a district court judge and married Cathrine (Kitty) Richardson in 1843. Kitty Richardson was said to be one of the most beautiful women in the islands.

When Mormon Missionaries came to the islands in 1850, Jonathan Napela was one of the first converts under the hand of twenty-three year old, George Q. Cannon. The two men became great friends and Napela assisted Cannon in translating the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian. The Hawaiian saint spent many years teaching the gospel to his Hawaiian countrymen.

In 1873 his wife Kitty was diagnosed with leprosy and sent to the island of Molokai for isolation. Although Jonathan did not have the disease, he petitioned the Board of Health for permission to go to the leper colony as his wife's kokua (helper). Jonathan would later contract the disease and pass away in 1879. Kitty would follow her dear husband two weeks later.

It is a remarkable story of accomplishment, faith, and love, and I feel truly honored to have been given the chance to write it out.  

1 comment:

Cheri J. Crane said...

Congratulations on the completion of your newest novel! It sounds very inspiring. Can't wait to read it.