Ecclesiam res et talia sermocinamur -

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

St. Martin de Porres

Today is the feast day of St. Martin de Porres, who, for the edification of any disgruntled readers, is a happy saint. St. Martin was born in Lima, Peru in 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a black slave. At the age of 11 he went to work as a servant for the Dominicans. He later joined the Dominicans as a religious brother and spent the rest of his life in the friary in Lima. Although he most desired to be sent abroad for work in the order's evangelization efforts, and thereby gain the crown of martyrdom, he was not selected for such work. Instead, he stayed in Lima, working as a housekeeper, barber, farmer, almoner (the member of the religious community who begged alms from the wealthy in the city for the support of the order's work with the poor) and infirmarian. He worked with great humility even in these simple tasks and performed many miraculous cures in the friary's hospital.

He established an orphanage and children's hospital for the poor of Lima's slums. He also established a veterinarian hospital and cared for the stray and sick animals that roamed the streets. He demonstrated remarkable care for all those who sought aid, whether it was medical, spiritual, or financial.

He possessed a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and a wonderous spiritual faith. He was blessed, because of his great faith and devotion, with ecstasies and the gift of bilocationn. He reportedly was seen by and comforted, the poor and oppressed in many parts of the world, although he never left Lima. Members of his friary testified that he passed through locked doors in order to care for those quarentined with fever. He died, of fever oddly enough, 1639. Clement XIII venerated him in 1763, Gregory XVI beatified him in 1836, and he was canonized by John XXIII in 1962. He is depicted with a broom and animals.

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