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St. Martin de Porres


Editor’s Note: On the feast day of St. Martin de Porres, missioner Patrick Montine shares more about the saint and how St. Martin’s life still challenges us today to live more intentionally and more deeply. 

On the 3rd of November we celebrate the feast day of St. Martin de Porres, one of my favorite saints. I will tell you a little bit about him. He was a lay brother of the Dominican Order in Peru in the 1600s. He worked with those experiencing poverty, the sick, and the orphaned. He was unique in that he was the illegitimate son of a Spaniard and a native woman (sources differ).

He was unable to enter the Dominicans for eight years for this reason. Instead of giving up, he worked as a servant doing the laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Finally after eight years, a Dominican Friar let him become a lay brother with the Order. He was able to work with the sick in the infirmary. There are many miracles and places named for his humble heart and healing hands.

St. Martin really speaks to me because when I was in elementary school I remember we had to dress up as a historical hero for class. I think most kids chose the presidents or scientists but I remember dressing up as St. Martin de Porres. I think even back when I was a little kid, I recognized his total commitment to the faith and to doing God’s will. This level of commitment is very hard sometimes because we are constantly being bombarded with a thousand different ideas of what to do with our lives.

St. Martin was patient, kind, and gave his life to God. We should all remember St. Martin especially during this approaching holiday season. We give up our time and money to buy things for other people (which is a good thing and I am not against that.) But when the holidays are over, it is easy (and I know I have done this) to forget those experiencing poverty, the sick, and the orphaned. A lot of us are removed from that world and a lot of us are reading this post on our personal computers in our homes.

So, just remember that when we reach the pearly gates, we can’t take our gadgets and toys but will take what we did with our lives. Hopefully we have tried to live like St. Martin de Porres and have lived a life with meaning.

Feature image: adaptation of photo by Wikimedia user AgainErick – Creative Commons

Patrick Montine graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He majored in anthropology and minored in Teaching English as a Second Language. He has served and traveled around the world, and considered it a great gift and privilege to serve with the Franciscans. Patrick served in Savannah la Mar, Jamaica.