Father Damien ministered to needs beyond those of the Kalaupapa leprosy colony. He also built four churches for his parishioners on Molokai’s uplands, or “topside,” and made his ecclesiastical rounds by horseback. St. Joseph’s, built in 1876, is a white one-room building with a churchyard that contains several graves. One small but poignant stone is incised partly in Hawaiian: “Margarita Kameekua, hanau Honolulu March 1, 1914, make Kamalo February 27, 1915.” Hanau means “born,” and make means “died.”
A lifesize black metal statue of Father Damien stands just outside the tiny church, which, like St. Philomena’s at Kalawao, is kept in good repair but used only for special occasions. Farther east along Rte. 450, near Mapulehu Stream, is Our Lady of Sorrows (1874), another of Father Damien’s topside churches.