Thursday, November 03, 2011

St. Martin de Porres

His dad was a Spaniard of some rank, and his mom, a Negress and former slave.  Martin was illegitimate and his father soon abandoned the boy along with his mom and his sister. 
When Martin was canonized I recall them making a big deal of the fact that he was of mixed race.  I remember thinking that his race made no difference to me - I simply admired him as a humble lay-brother saint I hoped to imitate one day. 
Read more on St. Martin here.


  1. Wow, a Saint who doesn't scare me! He was just simple and good.

    By the way, Wikipedia mentions the reference made to Martin de Porres in "A Confederacy of Dunces" ... has anyone ever read it? It's one of the best characterizations of New Orleans in literature.

  2. Hey, your blog is white now! It used to be black! What's going on?

  3. Hey, new background - I like it!

  4. Susan5:02 AM

    Hi Terry -

    I have always had a special affection for St. Martin de Porres. He had a humility and graciousness much like St. Francis' that I wish I had.

    My boss is an African-American woman who is Protestant. When she discovered I am Catholic, she mentioned she had received an excellent Catholic education at Hoban Dominican High School in Cleveland and had been born in St. Martin de Porres Hospital in Alabama. I told her St. Martin is a patron saint of African-Americans, which pleased her very much.

    Blessings from Akron

  5. Susan5:04 AM

    I forgot to mention I love the picture accompanying this item. I think it captures how I imagine St. Martin appeared very well.

  6. I love the story about how St. Martin got the mice to leave the monastery and go to the barn, where he would take food to them. I always feel bad when I have to trap mice, they're God's creatures too. Fortunately they don't even come around since we got cats.

  7. A moving depiction of the essence of St. Martin de Porres. It is no surprise that St. Martin was a close spiritual friend of St. Rose of Lima .... would have liked to have sat near them to hear their conversations.

  8. Where does that picture come from ...I also think it's really cool.

  9. I can't recall where the photo came from.

    Martin's other BFF was St. John Macias.

    Please tell your protestant friend about St. Bakhita - she was a former slave. I should do a post on black saints.

    I turned the background white at the request of people who had trouble reading white on black. Which makes me think... white on rice - what if all my posts were white type on white background? That would be so esoteric or somethin' - wouldn't it?

    Merc - I never read it. Do you know Ellen?

  10. +JMJ+

    That is the best image of St. Martin de Porres I have ever seen. I agree with everyone who says it captures his humility and simplicity of heart.

  11. Isn't that the guy from the madonna video?

  12. +JMJ+

    Doughboy, I am ROFLMAO!

  13. A Random Friar11:46 PM

    All the images I've seen have St. Martin with a dog/cat/mouse. No birds. I guess the photographer had a hard time getting the mouse's booking agent.

    Actually, I do love the picture. I'm just a stickler for St. Martin de Porres. :)

  14. Love St Martin De Porres..

  15. Merc, I've read and reread _A Conspiracy of Dunces_. It is absolutely spot-on for all thangs New Orleans (my hometown). Hysterically funny, too.

    btw, re: martin de porres (I love him, too) I've been told by friends from down in south america that everyone there is of mixed race and no big deal--people are pretty much color blind there, apparently.

  16. Georgette, glad to hear it. My favorite is the ok'd man Claude.

    I hav lots of students from South America, and yes, lots of people are mixed-race, but it also depends in the country - you see it more in Brazil and Venezuela, but not as much in Colombia and Chile, and definitely not as much in Argentina. And in Peru and Paraguay and Bolivia, I think most people have American Indian blood.

    The difference I think is that although slavery laste longer than it did here ( til the 1880s in Brazil), there was no long period of de jure (the South) or de facto (the North) segregation, Jim Crow, institutional racism, etc., so the mixing happened a lot earlier. I'd venture to say that at St Martin's time, it was still pretty taboo for those of European blood to mix with blacks, or even Indians.

    What's interesting is that Latin Americans in general are much more comfortable referring to people by appearance, without all the PC backbending we have. So a black guy may answer to "oye, negro" and a guy with salty eyes to "chino", a plump girl to "gordita", etc.

    Actually, only Americans and Europeans are stupid about that kind of stuff.


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