About Our Patron Saint, St. Martin de Porres
St. Martin was born in Lima, Peru in 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, John de Porres, and a poor black woman, Anna Velasquez. At first his father refused to recognize him as his son, until the boy began to show signs of having a very alert mind. His father provided for his education at the best schools in Lima, and apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon for two years, where he learned the medicine of the time and became a skilled herbologist and surgeon. He became a Dominican brother at Rosary Monastery in Lima, where hundreds sought him for his healing ability. In addition to caring for the priests and brothers, he also reached out to the poor, establishing an orphanage and foundling hospital, and caring for black slaves.
He made his daily life a martyrdom of penances and prayer, and was given many supernatural gifts, including aerial flight and bilocation. In his job of distributing the monastery’s daily allotment of food to the poor, at times the amount of food was miraculously increased. He also loved and cared for animals. Martin remained the rest of his life a devoted servant of the poor, caring for their sick, treating them with dignity, reminding them of God’s love for people of every race and color. Those who knew him called him a “loving father, a father of the poor.” A close friend of St. Rose of Lima, Martin died at Rosary Monastery in Lima on November 3, 1639, was beatified in 1837, and canonized on May 6, 1962.