St. Martin de Porres

November 3

Dominican Cross

Martin de Porres was born of mixed heritage in Lima, Peru. His father was of Spanish descent while his mother was black. Martin and a younger sister were born out of wedlock. In Martin’s early years, his father took no responsibility for his family and they lived in dire poverty. His mother worked menial tasks to keep the family alive. Because of the poor social position of the family, formal education was not considered. However, Martin’s mother did provide him with a religious education. It was here that the exceptional life of Martin was to begin. Once of age, Martin attended Mass and received the sacraments regularly, knowing always he was welcomed in his church.

During his childhood, Martin was devoted to prayer. He had deep compassion for the poor and needy. He was known to share with the poor of Lima from the little his family had, even to the distress of his mother. Through this love for the poor and his prayer, Martin strove to identify with the crucified Lord.

After a number of years, Martin’s father returned to Lima to care for his family. He sent Martin and his sister to live with a relative and there they received an education. Martin returned to Lima after four years with a desire to pursue a medical career whereby he could help the poor and afflicted. He studies for a few years under an able doctor. However, in spite of his exceptional medical ability, Martin chose to enter the Dominican priory to serve as a humble worker. As infirmarian, Martin became known as a great healer. He worked tirelessly for the brothers and for the poor in Lima. His love and concern for animals was also great. Many miracles were performed in his healing ministry. After nine years and the priory, Martin was called to full membership in the Dominican order.

Through his intense prayer life and love, Martin received the gifts of healings, bi-location and ecstasy. Many a story has been told about these gifts in his life. Martin was truly a worker for peace and security. He is the Patron and special protector of all works of social justice in Peru. Martin died with his brothers around him on November 3, 1629. He was proclaimed a saint on May 6, 1962.

Jane Creighton, OP