03.11.

1639: The Humble Dark-Skinned Saint

1639: The Humble Dark-Skinned Saint
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/San_Martin_de_Porres_huaycan.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event: Saint Martin de Porres was known for being so humble that, on one occasion, when his monastery fell in debt, he told his Dominican brothers to sell him into slavery in order to raise the necessary funds. It is interesting that he is usually depicted with a broom, because of his stance that no job is beneath him.

 

On this day the Catholic Church commemorates St. Martin de Porres, an unusual saint of exotic origins. Namely, that saint was of mixed European-African heritage, which is obvious from his dark tan. He was born in 1579 in Lima, South America, to a Spanish nobleman and a freed black slave. He grew up in poverty and, at the age of 15, entered the Dominican monastery in Lima. Interestingly, the Dominicans took him in despite the racial prejudice that was common at the time.

On one occasion, when his monastery fell in debt, St. Martin told his Dominican brothers to sell him into slavery in order to raise the necessary funds: “I’m just a poor mulatto, sell me!”. Of course, his brothers refused, and he later worked in the monastery hospital. It was soon noticed that he had an exceptional ability to help the sick. According to one anecdote, an aged beggar covered in ulcers approached him, and St. Martin gave him his bed. When one of his brothers reprimanded him for that, he said: “Compassion is, my brother, more important than cleanliness.”.He was also known for aiding the local native population, and founded an orphanage in Lima.

When St. Martin de Porres died on this day in 1639, he was known among the people of Lima for his kindness. Stories of him performing miracles spread throughout the region. He is today considered the protector of people of mixed ethnic descent and of public health workers. It is interesting that he is usually depicted with a broom, because of his stance that no job is beneath him.

 

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