Frei Daniel arrives at the leprosarium with a tremendous desire to offer
his life to his leper brothers. He is ready to suffer physical and emotional
pain in order to keep a light burning in so much darkness. He goes among
the lepers and joyfully tells them that he is there for them and that he
is available for their needs. But who could have imagined that the lepers
would not want him! They are afraid that Frei Daniel may be there only
to condemn their behavior and prevent them from doing what they are doing.
It seems strange, but they do not want a chaplain even though this priest
is a leper like themselves. They reject him. They even refuse to summon
him to assist and comfort the dying. The challenge is even greater, because
it is unexpected. This situation lasts from April until December, for eight
long months marked by vexation, open antagonism, persistent rudeness, not
to mention insults, even slander. Perhaps, all in all, they do not act
out of mere wickedness. Maybe they are really afraid to be forced to change
their lifestyle. Frei Daniel experiences eight months of unspeakable misery,
a truly painful novitiate.
Nothing can be found about this in his Diary. Frei Daniel does not mention anything even though one can perceive this martyrdom between those meager lines if we first read his letters. In fact, talking about this terrible period, he confesses to one of his Capuchin brothers: "I expected to be met with affection. What a disappointment! I was received not like a father, but like an enemy, an intruder who only comes to change things, to observe their shortcomings and punish them openly without mercy."