he is engaged in this endeavor that demands great responsibility, there
will occur the decisive and supreme encounter that will completely change
the life of the young director of the Agricultural Colony which had been
founded in the rain forest to evangelize and civilize the Indios. One day,
a young boy comes running to the Mission imploring the friars to give the
last rites to his dying father, some 25 miles away. It is pouring, yet
Frei Daniel rides off on horseback. The dying man seems to revive after
receiving the last rites.
Frei Daniel is about to return to the Mission when another boy approaches him with the news that a very ill woman, not far away, is asking for his religious assistance. The missionary follows him and quickly reaches the hut. He enters and what he sees can only be imagined. The woman wants to confess, wants to receive Holy Communion, wants to die in the peace of God, and Frei Daniel absolves her, comforts her and gives her some nursing assistance.
All his biographers, from Frei Ezechia from Iseo, to the more authoritative Frei Metodio from Nembro, relate this episode, and we must believe it, although there is no mention of it in the Diary. The woman was in the last stages of leprosy, a condition that is horrible to behold. Young, generous and brave, with a faith that could move mountains, Frei Daniel is not worried at all, but he becomes infected with Hansen's bacillus, which at that time was known as leprosy. It is not known and nobody will ever know if that was when he actually contracted the disease.