Our Patron Saint
On May 16, 1962, Pope John XXIII made Martin de Porres the first black American saint. Martin was born on December 9, 1579, in Lima, Peru, the illegitimate son of Don Juan de Porres of Burgos a Spanish nobleman, and Ana Velasquez, a young freed Negro slave girl. From early childhood Martin showed great piety, a deep love for all God's Creatures and a passionate devotion to Our Lady. At the age of 11 he took a job as a servant in the Dominican priory and performed the work with such devotion that he was called "the saint of the broom". Martin was placed in charge of the Dominican's infirmary where he became known for his tender care of the sick and for his spectacular cures. In recognition of his fame and his
deep devotion, his superiors dropped the stipulation that "no black person may be received to the holy habit or profession of our order" and Martin was vested in the full habit and took the solemn vows as a Dominican brother. As a Dominican brother, he became more devout and more desirous to be of service. He established an orphanage and a children's hospital for the poor children of the slums. He set up a shelter for the stray cats and dogs and nursed them back to health. Many miraculous cures, including the raising of the dead, were attributed to Brother Martin. Today throughout South America, Central America and the islands of the Caribbean, people tell of the miraculous powers of St. Martin de Porres.