Who Was Saint Martin De Porres

St. Martín de Porres

The Peruvian saint, Juan Martn de Porres Velázquez (born 1579 in Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru (now in Peru)—died November 3, 1639 in Lima; canonized 1962; feast day November 3) is renowned for his kindness, nursing of the sick, obedience, and charity. St. Martn de Porres is known for his kindness, nursing of the sick, obedience, and charity. As the patron saint of social justice, racial peace, and mixed-race persons, he is revered worldwide. Martn de Porres was born into poverty as the result of a liaison between a Spanish grandee and a free black woman.

He was sent to a barber-apprentice surgeon’s program, where he acquired the art of bloodletting and the administration of medications.

He was compassionate and ready to serve.

Despite the fact that it was not typical in Peru at the time to admit a mulatto into a religious order, Martn was regarded an exception and was accepted as a Dominican lay brother in 1610.

At addition to his work in the infirmary, Martn was involved in the distribution of food and alms to the poor and needy in Lima, and he was acquainted with St.

Lima’s youngsters were served by the establishment of a school that is regarded by some to be his memorial.

He was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1837 and canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1843.

Martin de Porres – Wikipedia

SaintMartin de PorresOP
Portrait of St. Martin de Porres,c.17th century, Monastery of Rosa of Santa Maria in Lima. This portrait was painted during his lifetime or very soon after his death, hence it is probably the most true to his appearance.
Martin of CharitySaint of the Broom
Born 9 December 1579Lima,Viceroyalty of Peru
Died 3 November 1639 (aged 59) Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru (modern-dayPeru)
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church,Lutheran Church,Anglican Communion
Beatified 29 October 1837 byPope Gregory XVI
Canonized 6 May 1962, byPope John XXIII
Majorshrine Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo, Lima, Peru
Feast November 3
Attributes a dog, a cat, a bird, and a mouse eating together from a same dish; broom, crucifix, rosary, a heart
Patronage Diocese of Biloxi, Vietnam, Mississippi, black people, hair stylists, innkeepers, lottery, lottery winners, mixed-race people, Peru, poor people, public education, public health, public schools, race relations, social justice, state schools, television, Mexico,Peruvian Naval Aviators

Martn de Porres VelázquezOP(9 December 1579 – 3 November 1639) was a Peruvianlay brother of the Dominican Order who was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He is the patron saint of mixed-race persons, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and anybody who wishes to see racial peace prevailed in the world. He was well-known for his charitable activities on behalf of the destitute, which included the establishment of an orphanage and a children’s hospital.

There are several marvels credited to him, such as levitation, bilocation, amazing wisdom, quick cures, and the capacity to converse with animals, to name a few.


Martin was born on the 9th of December, 1579, in the city of Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru. Juan de Porras de la Pea was the illegitimate son of Don Juan de Porras y de la Pea, a nobleman of Spanish heritage, and Ana Velázquez, a freed slave of African and Native American descent. Juana de Porres, his sister, was born two years later, in 1581, and was his only sibling. He left the family after the birth of his sister, and his mother followed suit. In order to help her children, Ana Velázquez volunteered to do their laundry.

  • He prayed for hours at a time during the night, a habit that became more frequent as he grew older.
  • As a “donado,” Martin could only apply to the Dominicans of Holy Rosary Priory in Lima, and in exchange for the privilege of wearing the habit and living among them, he would be granted entry into the monastery.
  • He was initially accepted as a servant boy, but as his responsibilities rose, he was promoted to the position of almoner.
  • He also helped out in the kitchen, did laundry, and cleaned.
  • Holy Rosary was home to 300 men, not all of them agreed with De Lorenzana’s decision: one of the novices referred to Martin as a “mulattodog,” while one of the priests referred to him as “illegitimate” and “descended from slaves,” among other things.
  • He is claimed to have turned down this promotion, which may have come about as a result of his father’s involvement, on a number of occasions, and he never went on to become a priest.
  • Martin had a strong attachment to the Blessed Sacrament.

St Pancras Church, Ipswich, has a stained glass image of Martin de Porres from the mid-twentieth century, complete with a broom, rosary, parrot, and monkey.

This was after he had been awarded the religious habit of a lay brother.

It was his superiors who recognized in him the qualities essential to maintain unwavering patience in this tough position.

When Martin was not at his convent, he tended for the ill in the community, frequently giving them healing with little more than a glass of water.

On one occasion, an elderly beggar, covered with sores and almost completely nude, reached out his hand, and Martin took the beggar into his own bed.

“Compassion, my dear Brother, is better than cleanliness,” Martin said.

Martin is claimed to have passed through the closed doors in order to care for them, an occurrence that has been recorded at the home on more than one occasion.

Martin continued to take the ill to the convent until the provincial superior, concerned about the spread of the disease among the friars, banned him from doing so any more.

He came upon a poor Indian who was bleeding to death from a knife wound on the street one day and brought him to his own room until he could bring him to his sister’s hospice.

When the prior learned of this, he punished him for disobeying the rules of the order.

Martin was a vegetarian who did not consume meat.

During normal times, Martin was able to feed 160 needy people every day with his alms, and he provided a significant quantity of money to the destitute every week through his alms distribution.

Martin died in the year 2000. A home for orphans and abandoned children was established by him in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

Death and commemoration

Martin de Porres is shown with black complexion in a devotional statue in Kildare, Ireland, presenting him as a saint. The Dominican Saints Juan Macas and Saint Rose of Lima were both friends of Martin’s. SaintJuan Macas was a fellow Dominican lay brother, while SaintRose of Lima was also a friend of Martin’s. When he died on November 3, 1639, he had gained the admiration and esteem of many Dominicans as well as a large number of individuals from outside the priory. He was buried in the priory cemetery.

  • During his funeral procession, his body was laid out for the people of the city to pay their respects.
  • The body was purportedly stripped of three habits, according to legend.
  • After De Porres’ death, the miracles and graces that were obtained when he was summoned expanded in such a profusion that his body was unearthed after 25 years and was discovered undamaged, with a beautiful scent emanating from it, according to legend.
  • Martin de Porres was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on October 29, 1837, and he was canonized by Pope John XXIII on May 6, 1962, approximately 125 years after his beatification.
  • His feast day is November 3, and he is remembered in the Church of England’s Calendar of Saints.
  • He is also known as Papa Candelo in the Afro-Caribbean -Catholicsyncretistreligion, which is practiced in places where African di


Martin de Porres’s forensic facial reconstruction was performed. Martin de Porres is sometimes shown as a young mixed-racefriar who wears the ancient Dominican lay brother’s uniform, which consists of a black scapular and capuce, as well as a broom, because he regarded all labour to be sacred, no matter how menial the task. He is occasionally depicted with a dog, a cat, and a mouse all enjoying a peaceful meal from the same dish.


When it came to Martin’s sometimes stubborn attachment to the goal of social justice, his words struck a deep chord with a church seeking to carry that ideal forward in today’s modern world. A school facility dedicated to Martin that contains the Dominican University of Santo Tomas’s themedical, nursing, and rehabilitation science schools in the Philippines, among other things, is dedicated to Martin’s memory today. His work is also commemorated through a program of work at the Las Casas Institute, which is located at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford.

Martin de Porres. He is commemorated through the naming of a number of Catholic churches. His name is also given to the Dominican province in the United States known as the Southern Province of Dominicans.

In popular culture

Ignatius Reilly, the protagonist of the 1980 novelA Confederacy of Dunces, considers praying to Martin Luther King, Jr. for assistance in bringing social justice to the black workers at the New Orleans factory where he works. In terms of music, “St. Martin De Porres” is the title of the opening tune on jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams’s albumBlack Christ of the Andes, which is a jazz piano album. His life has been depicted in a number of Spanish and Mexican films and television shows, many of which include Cuban actor Rene Muoz.

Friar Broom (1963), Fray Escoba(Friar Broom), and Un mulato llamado Martin(A mulatto named Martin) are among the most well-known films (1975).

When questioned about San Martin’s accomplishments, his grandpa is unable to recall any of them and merely refers to him as “one of the black ones” when pressed.

The depiction of de Porres and Madonna in a loving connection drew varied reactions from the Peruvian Catholic Church as well as the Roman Catholic Church in Rome.

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See also

  • Saint Martin de Porres (sculpture) by Father Thomas McGlynn
  • Saint Martin de Porres, patron saint archive
  • Saint Martin de Porres, patron saint sculpture


  1. Abcd”Martin Porres,” Encyclopedia of World Biography
  2. Abcd”St. Martin de Porres, the first Black saint in the Americas,” Encyclopedia of World Biography
  3. Abcd”Martin de Porres,” Encyclopedia of World Biography The African American Registry is a database that contains information about African Americans. retrieved on April 22, 2020
  4. Aside from Leonard Foley and Patrick McCloskey, other notables include: (2009). St. Patrick’s Day: Lives, Lessons, and Feasts Franciscan Media, ISBN 978-0-86716-887-7
  5. Abc”St. Martin de Porres”
  6. ISBN 978-0-86716-887-7
  7. Catholicism in the United States. On April 27, 2015, the original version of this article was archived. Fullerton, Anne, “Who was St. Martin de Porres?” (Who Was St. Martin de Porres?). Oakland, California’s St. Martin de Porres School. The original version of this article was published on October 19, 2013
  8. Abc Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of this work (1 September 2016). “Patron Saints for the Challenges of the Modern Era.” Franciscan Media is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the Franciscan faith. retrieved on 4th of July, 2019
  9. The Saint Martin De Porres Prayer Book, pages. 147-152, has a biography
  10. AbGranger, Fr. Arthur M. (OP), The Saint Martin De Porres Prayer Book, pp. 147-152, contains a biography
  11. (1941). This is the story of the Blessed Martin de Porrès. Dominican Press, St. Hyacinthe
  12. St. Hyacinthe “St. Martin de Porres” is an abbreviation for “St. Martin de Porres.” The Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres is located in Spain. On April 24, 2016, the original version of this article was archived. Sr. Mary Jean Dorcy, Sr. Dorcy (1983). Over 300 well-known Dominicans are descended from St. Dominic. “The Calendar,” published by TAN Books, ISBN 978-1-5051-0346-5. The Church of England is a denomination in the United Kingdom. The Las Casas InstituteArchived2013-07-09 at theWayback Machineat the Blackfriars Hall website
  13. The St. Martin de Porres ParishArchived2013-03-12 at theWayback Machine
  14. And the “St. Martin de Porres” website were all retrieved on April 9, 2021. Records made by the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Archived from the original on April 22, 2020
  15. Fray EscobaatIMDb
  16. MartnatIMDb

External links

  • The website and image of St. Martin de Porres
  • Martin de Porres is the Saint of the Day on November 3
  • The Southern Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres is the Order of Preachers
  • The St. Martin de Porres Shrine Institute is located in Memphis, Tennessee
  • And St. Martin de Porres, the First Black Saint of the Americas, is celebrated on November 3.

St. Martin de Porres – Saints & Angels

On December 9, 1579, St. Martin de Porres was born in the Peruvian capital of Lima. A liberated slave from Panama of African or maybe Native American heritage, Martin was the illegitimate son of a wealthy Spanish gentleman and a freed slave from Spain. After abandoning his family when Martin was a small child, including his mother and younger sister, Martin was forced to grow up in abject poverty. Having completed only two years of elementary school, Martin was put with a barber/surgeon, where he learned how to trim hair while also learning about the medical field.

  • In Peru, all descendants of African or Indian ancestors were not permitted to become full members of religious orders, as stipulated by law.
  • In exchange, he would be permitted to wear the habit and live among the members of the religious order.
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  • During his stay in the Convent, Martin continued to practice his previous skills of barbering and healing, which he had left behind.

When Martin completed his eighth year of devotion to the Holy Rosary, the prior Juan de Lorenzana granted him permission to profess his faith as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, in defiance of the law that prohibited Martin from taking vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic because of his race.

  1. Martin grew up and became a Dominican lay brother in 1603 when he was 24 years old.
  2. He would stay in charge of the infirmary until his death.
  3. He died in the year 2000.
  4. He looked after everyone, from the aristocrats of Spain to the African slaves under his care.
  5. Martin’s life was a reflection of his deep devotion to God and all of God’s blessings.
  6. Additionally, Martin established an orphanage for abandoned children and slaves, and he is well-known for raising dowries for young girls in a very short period of time.
  7. Because they were sequestered in a separate portion of the monastery, they were kept away from the professed.

In the end, however, he was disciplined for failing to adhere to the rules of the Convent; however, after responding, “Please forgive my error and instruct me, as I was unaware that the precept of obedience took precedence over the precept of charity,” he was given complete freedom to act in accordance with his heart’s desire for mercy.

Juan Macas, a fellow Dominican lay brother, and St.

Martin was also great friends with St.

Martin was 60 years old when he fell ill with chills, fever, and tremors that caused him severe anguish in January of 1639, when he was 60 years old. He would remain ailing for about a year before succumbing to his illness on November 3, 1639, according to historical records.

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  • Help Now By the time of his death, he was well-known and well accepted.
  • The miracles he obtained after his death were of such enormous magnitude that when he was excavated 25 years later, his body released a magnificent smell and was found to be in perfect physical and spiritual condition.
  • Martin de Porres was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on October 29, 1837, and canonized by Pope John XXIII on May 6, 1962.
  • The saint has been designated as the patron saint of mixed-race persons, innkeepers, barbers, and public health professionals, among other things.

Saint Martin de Porres

The Life of Saint Martin de Porres The legal term “Father unknown” is sometimes used on baptismal certificates, and it is chilly and formal. Those of “pure” blood are cruelly labeled as “half-breed” or “war souvenir” by those of “half-breed” blood. Martin could have become a bitter man, like so many others have, but he did not. It was stated that he had given his heart and his possessions to the poor and despised since he was a boy. He was the offspring of a liberated lady from Panama, who was most likely black but might also have been of indigenous origin, and a Spanish grandee from Lima, Peru, according to legend.

  1. Martin’s features and dark skin were inherited from his mother, who was born with them.
  2. After the birth of a sibling, the father decided to depart the household.
  3. In the year 2000, at the age of 12, his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon.
  4. When Martin had finished his medical apostolate, he applied to the Dominicans to become a “lay helper,” because he did not believe he was worthy of being a religious brother.
  5. After nine years, the community, inspired by his example of prayer and penance, kindness, and humility, requested that he make complete religious profession on their behalf.
  6. I thought it was particularly admirable how he treated everyone, regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, or social standing.
  7. He rose to the position of procurator for both the priory and the city, handling everything from “blankets, clothes, candles, chocolates, miracles, and prayers!” “I am merely a poor mulatto,” he said when his priory was in financial trouble.

I am an order’s property, and the order owns me.

His generosity extended to the creatures of the field as well as to the vermin of the kitchen, among other things.

It wasn’t long before Martin established himself as a strong fundraiser, raising thousands of dollars for dowries for destitute girls in order for them to marry or enter a convent.

Reflection Racism is a sin that nearly no one is willing to admit.

Martin de Porres is a saint who serves as a model for Christian forgiveness on the side of individuals who have been discriminated against, as well as Christian justice on the part of repentant bigots.

It is Saint Martin de Porres who is the patron saint of the following groups:African Americans Barbers Hairdressers Relationships Among People of Different Races Social Justice on the Radio

7 fascinating facts about the first black saint of the Americas

Newsroom, Denver, Colorado, November 3, 2021 / 8:20 a.m. It is the feast day of St. Martin de Porres, a Peruvian Dominican brother who led a life of sacrificial service and charitable giving before being canonized as the first black saint of the Americas on November 3, according to the Catholic Church. Here are seven amazing facts about this saint who inspires us all.

  1. His father was adamant in his refusal to accept him. In 1579, Martin de Porres was born in the Peruvian capital of Lima. In addition to being the son of a Spanish nobleman, he was the son of a former Panamanian black slave. For the same reason as his mother, Don Juan de Porres, refused to openly accept Martin as his own son since he was black like his father. Martin’s mixed identity would provide difficulties throughout his life
  2. He began practicing medicine at the age of thirteen. Martin worked as an apprentice to a doctor and began learning the profession of medicine at the age of thirteen, when he was assigned to the position. He would eventually go on to become a barber, which at the time included minor medical and surgical treatments such as extracting teeth and draining abscesses
  3. But, as a Dominican, he was subjected to prejudice. Martin was initiated into the Dominican order in the year 1603. Because of a Peruvian statute at the time, persons of mixed race were barred from joining religious organizations, Martin’s journey to become a Dominican brother proved difficult. As a result, he joined the community and worked as a manual laborer, acquiring the moniker “the saint of the broom” for his dedication to cleaning the Dominicans’ quarters. Eventually, despite the rules, he was allowed to join the order and began working in the infirmary, caring for the ill and the underprivileged of Peru. In the case of the sick, Martin would remark something like “I treat them, but God cures them.” He also had the responsibility of begging for alms, which the community would spend to clothe and feed the less fortunate members of the community. His other accomplishments included the establishment of an orphanage and the planting of an orchard from which people in need might freely take a day’s supply of fruit
  4. He also had the ability to levitate and bilocate. Martin was a highly pious guy, to the point that several of his brothers watched him levitating in fervent prayer and embracing the crucified Cross. Martin was a deeply religious man. Several of Martin’s contemporaries claimed that he possessed the ability to bilocate, and they claimed to have encountered him in areas as far away as Japan while he was still based in Lima. Some said he appeared to them supernaturally, behind closed doors or in otherwise inconceivable conditions
  5. He was a vegetarian who refused to eat meat or consume dairy products. Martin has a soft spot for animals. He refused to consume meat and managed a veterinary hospital for sick animals that seemed to come to him seeking care on their own. The saint is frequently shown with cats, dogs, and even rats, whom he is said to have shown compassion for. He is the patron saint of a variety of manual labor vocations, including construction and agriculture. St. Martin was well-known for the varied duties he undertook, which gained him the title of patron saint of barbers, the ill, and street cleaners among other things. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of St. Martin de Porres’ canonization, Father Juan Anguerri, director of the St. Martin de Porres Home for the Poor, observed, “These are frequently thankless activities, but St. Martin conveyed a message to revive these occupations by his modest service.”
  6. He was canonized more than 300 years after his death, which was unprecedented. Martin de Porres passed away on November 3, 1639, at the age of 60. On May 16, 1962, Pope St. John XXIII officially declared him a saint. St. John XXIII referred to him as “Martin of Charity” at his canonization Mass.
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Martin De Porres (1579-1639) •

The convent of San Martin de Porres, ca. 1600 Image that is in the public domain St. Martin de Porres, who was born on December 9, 1579, in Lima, Peru, is well remembered for his philanthropic efforts. In recognition of his devotion, he was admitted into the Dominican order of his own nation, and his acts of compassion for the ill served as part of the evidence that led to his canonization as the first black saint of the Americas. Martin de Porres’ fair-mindedness and empathy were evident from an early age, thanks to the influence of his noble father, Don Juan de Porres, and his mother, Anna Velasquez, a liberated American black slave residing in Panama.

  1. After learning understanding of medicine, de Porres put his newfound expertise to use by curing the sick and infirmed in his community.
  2. In part because of his race, he was not immediately offered the holy habit, but was instead elevated to distributing alms, which resulted in significant donations to fund his work in a Dominican hospital.
  3. After impressing his superiors, de Porres was granted the privilege of wearing the holy habit in 1594.
  4. After becoming a member of the Order of Preachers, de Porres set up facilities to care for some of Lima’s most vulnerable residents.
  5. De Porres established a health shelter for stray animals as a result of his medical training and strong feeling of compassion for all living creatures.
  6. He’d led a life of commitment to Christian monasticism and charitable works throughout his life.
  7. The Catholic Church officially acknowledged de Porres’ contributions to the world by an Apostolic Decree issued in April 1763, kicking off the process of canonization.
  8. On January 10, 1945, Pope Pius XII formally designated Fray Martin de Porres as Peru’s patron saint of social justice, making him the country’s first canonized black male and making him the world’s first canonized black man.

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Cite this article in APA format:

Escamilla, L., et al (2009, February 24). Martin De Porres is a Dominican priest (1579-1639). BlackPast.org.

Source of the author’s information:

J. W. Seabrook’s “Review of Meet Brother Martin!” is available online. The Journal of Negro History, 26:4 (October, 1941); Gayle Murchison, “Mary Lou Williams’s Hymn Black Christ of the Andes (St Martin de Porres):Vatican II, Civil Rights, and Jazz as Sacred Music,” The Musical Quarterly, 86:4 (October, 2001); Gayle Murchison, “Mary Lou Williams’s Hymn Black Christ of the Andes (St Martin de Porres):Vatican (2002).

Why Did Saint Martin De Porres Become a Saint?

It was for a variety of reasons that Saint Martin De Porres was canonized, one of which was his extraordinary compassion for the ill and suffering of both humans and animals.

Martin De Porres: Background for Sainthood

De Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579 to a Spanish father and a black freedwoman from Panama, and as a result, he had a mixed racial identity as a result of his upbringing. The Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima had racial restrictions in place, and he was first denied the opportunity to become a full friar at the institution. He did, however, join as a servant when he was 15 years old. The Dominican Friary was where he spent the most of his life, working as a barber, analmoner, and a farm laborer in addition to his other responsibilities.

Finally, he was elevated to the rank of Dominican lay brother.

His Compassion and Contribution to Society

Throughout his life, he was highly sensitive toward anyone who were sick or in pain, whether they were humans or animals. One especially memorable incident occurred when he came upon a frail beggar who was covered with sores. Instead of throwing him out like a sickness, he enabled him to remain in his bed with him. He was approached by another brother and advised not to do so, to which he responded, “I’m not going to do it.” “Compassion, rather than cleanliness, is better, my dear Brother. Consider the fact that I can quickly clean my bed linens with a little soap, but even with a flood of tears, I would never be able to remove the stain that my harshness toward the poor would leave on my heart and soul.” You would be hard pressed to find too many people who would respond in such a sympathetic manner toward someone in this situation.

Then he would go out onto the streets and beg for money, while simultaneously praying to God to assist him in his endeavors.

Self-Punishment and Martyrdom

Martin De Porres desired to go on a mission for the church in a distant country, which would elevate him to the status of a martyr. The church, on the other hand, would not allow it. Instead, by hurting himself on a daily basis, he turned himself into a martyr for his beliefs. Every time he whipped himself, he would whip himself three times. He did this as an act of contrition for his crimes as well as for the benefit of pagans and sinners who had not yet been converted.

He believed that through torturing himself, he would be able to aid in the salvation of their souls. He was trying to be like Jesus Christ. Martin De Porres selected this sort of punishment as a means of demonstrating how profoundly he felt about his religious beliefs and beliefs in general.

Canonization Of Saint Martin De Porres

The process of becoming canonized can be a rather lengthy one. Martin De Porres died on November 3, 1639, but he was not beatified until 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI, and he was not canonized until 1962 by Pope John XXIII. Martin De Porres was born on November 3, 1639, and he died on November 3, 1639. He is known as the patron saint of barbers and barbers’ assistants. In commemoration of the tremendous services that he performed for individuals who were in urgent need of assistance, his feast day is observed on November 3.

Martín Porres Biography – life, childhood, name, story, school, mother, young, son, old, born

Saint Martn de Porres (1579–1639) was born in Lima, Peru, and lived there for the most of his life. Martn, a Dominican monk who was famed for his healing abilities and his unwavering dedication to charity service to the poor, was canonized by Pope John Paul XXIII in 1962, and he was named as the patron saint of worldwide fraternity by Pope John Paul XXIII. While Martn had always been a well-known personality within Latin American Catholicism, he began to garner additional attention in the latter years of the twentieth century.

From the plethora of amazing stories that have surrounded Martn’s life and legacy has grown yet another intriguing element of Martn’s life and legacy.

The last point to mention is Martn’s sometimes stubborn devotion to the notion of social justice, which resonated deeply in the hearts of those who are trying to carry that goal forward in today’s modern society.

Born to Freed Panamanian-Born Slave

Martn de Porres was born on December 9, 1579, in the Peruvian capital of Lima. His father was a Spanish conqueror by the name of Don Juan de Porres, and his mother was Ana Velázquez, a freed slave from Panama who was of African or maybe half Native American heritage and who had come to the United States as a child. Observing that the infant exhibited African rather than European characteristics, Don Juan de Porres refused to recognize him as the child’s father. A baptismal record bearing the note “father unknown” (as recounted in full by J.C.

  1. He was reared by his mother in terrible poverty, on the very lowest rungs of early Spanish colonial society; in the eyes of the nobility, this was the most disgraceful of all the signs of illegitimacy, which was only surpassed in humiliation by a child’s racially mixed lineage.
  2. In fact, by the age of 10, he was dedicating a significant portion of his day to prayer, a practice that he continued for the remainder of his life.
  3. Perhaps as a consequence of the youngster’s spiritual achievements, Don Juan de Porres recognized that he was Martn’s father when the boy was eight years old, which was an unusual admission at the period.
  4. In 16th-century culture, a barber’s apprentice program was established when Martn was 12 years old.
  5. Young Martn learnt the fundamentals of surgery, which included delivering herbal cures, treating wounds, and taking blood, which was considered to be curative at the time of his training.
  6. He applied to become a Dominican monk at the Convent of the Rosary in Lima, which was turned down.
  7. According to an early biography cited by Alex Garca-Rivera inSt Martn de Porres, the bishop at the monastery stated that the monastery was founded by St.
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These facts imply that Indians, blacks, and their descendants are unable to express their faith in any religious institution since they are races that have not yet developed a strong religious tradition.” After being assigned to the monastery’s hospital, Martn was able to put his medical training to good use, and he was frequently tasked with basic monastic tasks like as cleaning, cooking, and washing laundry, among other things.

Martn was subjected to acts of harassment both before and after joining the monastery, which may or may not have been motivated by race on both occasions.

Another narrative revolved on Martn’s proclivity for self-denial, or, to put it another way, his resolve to identify himself with the plight of Peru’s indigenous peasants and their way of life.

Does it seem to you that I should retire to a soft bed, even if I would never have had the opportunity in my own country to do so?

According to Kearns, Martn reacted by citing from Psalm 83, which says, “I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.” It was clarified by the author that this statement was not intended to portray the Archbishop as a sinner, but rather that he preferred mundane duties over high-level positions.

He wore his robes until they were completely worn out, refusing to indulge in the pleasure of purchasing new ones.

Religious Devotion Celebrated in Stories

The profession of faith that allowed him to become a Dominican brother was made when Martn was 24 years old, in 1603, when he was 24 years old. He is claimed to have turned down this promotion, which may have come about as a result of his father’s involvement, on a number of occasions, and he never went on to become a priest. As with any other famous holy man, Martín’s life is surrounded by stories, and those stories constitute the primary means of remembering him at a distance of four centuries.

  • Some consist of testimony about his character and accomplishments by church officials who knew him, while others seem to be of a more popular character, arising among Lima’s impoverished populace, and coming down to the present time partly via oral tradition.
  • He was said sometimes to be surrounded by a bright light whenhe prayed, and to be levitated off the floor of a chapel by sheer religious ecstasy.
  • Martín was said to be capable of bilocation (being in two places at once), and individuals from both Africa and Mexico swore that they had encountered him in their home villages even though he was never known to have left Lima.
  • Other tales of the miracles and wonders worked by Martín, however, were more specific to his time and place.
  • The most famous single story connected with Martín had to do with a group of mice (or rats) that infested the monastery’s collection of fine linen robes.
  • One day he caught a mouse and said (in the rendering of Angela M.
  • Look; I shall not kill you, but you are to assemble all your friends and lead them to the far end of the garden.
  • Both the mice and Martín kept their word, and the closet infestation was solved for good.
  • He would apply his medical skills to the treatment of a wounded dog found wandering the streets with the same energy he would devote to a sick human.

Ministered to the Poor and Sick

The steadfast efforts of Martn to aid Lima’s impoverished and sick, frequently against the desires of his monastery’s superiors, were the subject of several more stories of Martn’s compassion. Martn escorted a sick, elderly street person to his own bed in the monastery, where he was nearly completely nude and covered with open sores. According to the Lives of the Saints reported on the website of Canada’s Monastery of the Magnificat, Martn responded, “Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness.

  • Because of concerns about the spread of disease, during one outbreak of the plague, he brought in a wounded Native American man for treatment, despite a ban on ill people being admitted to the monastery by the province’s Superior administrator because of fears of contamination.
  • The belief was that he possessed an extraordinary capacity to predict whether or not a patient would recover.
  • According to Richard Cardinal Cushing (writing inSt.
  • Martn did not use these monies simply to help the poor; instead, he attempted to eliminate social inequalities based on class.
  • When the monastery’s finances deteriorated as a result of his actions, Martn said, “I am merely a poor mulatto.
  • I am the property of the order.
  • It took some time for the Catholic Church to recognize his achievements, despite his widespread popularity throughout Latin America.
  • On May 6, 1962, Pope John XXIII canonized him as a saint in front of a crowd of 350 African-American Catholics who had gathered to witness the ceremony.

On a more mundane level, he was also the patron saint of interracial relations, social justice, public education, Peruvian television, public health, trade unions in Spain, mixed-race persons, barbers and hair stylists in Italy, and the patron saint of barbers and hair stylists in Peru.


Selected Writings of Cardinal Cushing, St. Martin de Porres, St. Paul Editions, 1962 Alex Garca-St. Rivera’s Martn de Porres: The “Little Stories” and the Semiotics of Culture was published by Orbis Books in 1995. Kenedy Sons published The Life of Blessed Martn de Porres: Saintly American Negro and Patron of Social Justice in 1937. J.C. Kearns was ordained as an Oblate of the Poor in 1937.


The Manila Bulletin (Philippines) published this article on November 3, 2006.


“About St. Martin de Porres,” Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, “About St. Martin de Porres,” Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, “About St. Martin de Porres,” Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, “About St. Martin de Porres,” Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, “About St. Martin de Porres,” Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, “About St. Martin de Por (January 21, 2007). “Saint Martin de Porres,” Lives of the Saints, Monastery of the Magnificat, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, “Saint Martin de Porres,” Lives of the Saints (January 21, 2007).

  • Martin de Porres: A Brief Biography,’ published by St.
  • (January 21, 2007).
  • Martyn de Porres is celebrated as the day’s patron saint (January 21, 2007).
  • Patrick’s Catholic Church is dedicated to St.

Life of St Martin de Porres

St. Martin de Porres was born on December 9, 1579, in Lima, Peru, to Don Juan de Porres, a Spanish nobleman and adventurer, and Ana Velasquez, a freeddaughter of slaves from Panama. He was the son of Don Juan de Porres and Ana Velasquez. The family was abandoned by Martin’s father when he and his sister, Juana, were very tiny children. When Ana Velasquez was a single mother, she supported her children by taking in their laundry. Rather than embittering him, Martin’s early poverty heightened his sensitivity to the suffering of the poor, particularly orphans, to whom he would dedicate much of his time and money.

When Martin was eight years old, his father had a change of heart and chose to claim his two children (who had been officially labeled as mulattos, a term used to describe mixed-race offspring) despite the negative publicity that had been brought upon him.

Martin began working as a barber/surgeon apprentice when he was twelve years old, under the supervision of Marcel de Rivero.

Leaving Home and joining the Dominican Order

Soon after departing from home, Martin took up residence in the house of Ventura de Luna. Martin, who had always been a devout Catholic who spent a lot of time in church, begged his landlady for some candle stubs.

She was intrigued by his actions and one night peered into his room through a keyhole, where she observed Martin engaged in a vigil of ecstatic prayer, which he would continue to do throughout his lifetime.

Encountering Prejudice

Martin frequently chastised his brothers for their racial views and prejudices. A group of Indians was mopping the floor when Martin happened across them, and they were being watched by one of the Dominican brothers. When informed that they were cleaning in order to return a meal they had received, Martin pointed out that the brother had fed several white folks the day before without requiring them to clean up after themselves. He picked up the broom himself when Martin issued a stern, yet polite, challenge to his younger brother.

In his defense, he would claim that the servants were exhausted from their day’s labor while he, Martin, had done very little himself.


Martin’s spiritual activities were renowned around the world. He was known to fast for long periods of time on bread and water on a regular basis. The all-night vigils were his favorite. He frequently prayed while lying down as if crucified, occasionally kneeling but mysteriously keeping his feet a foot or more off the ground. His fondness for animals was also famous among his contemporaries. He would feed and heal any animals that came into his proximity, and the animals were well aware of his presence and obeyed him.

Martin is frequently shown with mice because, according to one legend, the monks had become tired of their mouse issues and had chosen to place traps for the animals.

The mice agreed, and Martin fed them at the back door of the kitchen as a reward.

But it was St.

Martin provided food, housing, and medical care to hundreds of families.

His last contribution was the establishment of the Orphanage and School of the Holy Cross, which welcomed boys and girls of all social strata while also teaching them trades or homemaking skills.

On the 3rd of November in the year 1639, St.

With his brothers at his side and reciting the Credo, he died with the words “et homo factus est” at the conclusion of his life.

Martin’s habit to keep as a relic of the saint. These fragments of the saint’s cloak have been linked to an untold number of miraculous cures. Lima, Peru is home to the Convento Santo Domingo, where St Martin de Porres is laid to rest.


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