Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sain Martin de Porres

St Martin de Pores (1579-1639)
St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579. Martin was the illegitimate son to a Spanish gentlemen and a freed slave from Panama. At a young age, Martin's father abandoned him, his mother and his younger sister, leaving Martin to grow up in deep poverty. After spending just two years in primary school, Martin was placed with a barber/surgeon where he would learn to cut hair and the medical arts. As Martin grew older, he experienced a great deal of ridicule for being of mixed-race. In Peru, by law, all descendants of African or Indians were not allowed to become full members of religious orders.
Martin, who spent long hours in prayer, asked to be accepted as a volunteer who performed the most menial tasks in the monastery. In return, he would be allowed to wear the habit and live within the religious community. When Martin was 15, he asked for admission into the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received as a servant boy helping the poor.
During his time in the Convent, Martin took on his old trades of barbering and healing. He also worked in the kitchen, did laundry and cleaned. After eight more years he was granted the privilege to take his vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. Still Martin was called horrible names and mocked for being illegitimate and descending from slaves. Martin was assigned to the infirmary where he would remain in charge until his death. He carefully and patiently took care of the sick people, regardless of race or wealth.
Martin's life reflected his great love for God and all of God's gifts. It is said he had many extraordinary abilities, including bilocation, instant cures, and an excellent relationship with animals. He would feed little mice who came into the kitchen. Martin also founded an orphanage for abandoned children and slaves and is known for raising dowry for young girls in short amounts of time.

During an epidemic in Lima, many of the friars in the Convent of the Rosary became very ill and were locked away in a distant section of the convent. However, on more than one occasion, Martin passed through the locked doors to care for the sick, thinking that charity is more important than obedience. Martin was great friends with both St. Juan MacĂ­as, a fellow Dominican lay brother, and St. Rose of Lima, a lay Dominican.
In 1639 when Martin was 60-years-old, he became very ill with chills, fevers and tremors causing him agonizing pain. He would experience almost a year full of illness until he passed away on November 3, 1639.
By the time he died, he was widely known and accepted. Talks of his miracles in medicine and caring for the sick were everywhere. After his death, the miracles received when he was invoked in such greatness that when he was exhumed 25 years later, his body exhaled a splendid fragrance and he was still intact. St. Martin de Porres was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on October 29, 1837 and canonized by Pope John XXIII on May 6, 1962.  He has become the patron saint of people of mixed race, innkeepers, barbers, public health workers and more.

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