Saint Martin de Porres
Born: Lima, Peru, 1579
Died: Lima, Peru, 1639
Feast Day: November 3
St. Martin de Porres was born in 1579 in Lima, Peru during the early Spanish colonial period. In this system, Spanish royalty had a nearly universal authority in the religious affairs of the Church in the colonies they controlled, frequently leading to abuses.
Martin was the son of Ana Valázquez, a freed slave of African and perhaps Indigenous descent, and Don Juan de Porres, a Spanish nobleman who exploited Ana and abandoned her, Martin, and his sister Juana. Throughout his life, Martin experienced serious racial discrimination and suffered other social consequences from being considered illegitimate. Even within the Church, he was barred from full membership in Peruvian Catholic religious orders because he was mixed race.
From his youth, he had an intense and pious prayer life; in his later life, many miracles were attributed to his intervention. After volunteering as a layman in religious communities in Lima (including the Holy Rosary Dominicans), he was eventually accepted as a Third Order (lay) Dominican. Because of his knowledge of medicine, he served in his community’s infirmary where he was known for his universal charity toward nobles and slaves alike. He served in this capacity for more than twenty years and died of illness in 1639.
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Martin de Porres: A Saint of the Americas by Brian J. Pierce (Amazon)
For Children: Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert by Gary D. Schmidt (Amazon)
For Children: Martin de Porres: A Beggar for Justice by Barbara Yoffie (Amazon)
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