St. Martin de Porres was born
at Lima, Peru, in 1579. His father was a Spanish gentleman and his mother a coloured freed-woman
from Panama. At fifteen, he became a lay brother at the Dominican Friary at Lima and spent his whole
life there-as a barber, farm laborer, almoner, and infirmarian among other things.
Martin had a great desire
to go off to some foreign mission and thus earn the palm of martyrdom. However, since this was not
possible, he made a martyr out of his body, devoting himself to ceaseless and severe penances. In
turn, God endowed him with many graces and wondrous gifts, such as, aerial flights and
Martin´s love was all-embracing, shown equally to humans and to animals, including vermin, and he
maintained a cats and dogs hospital at his sister's house. He also possessed spiritual wisdom,
demonstrated in his solving his sister´s marriage problems, raising a dowry for his niece inside of
three day's time, and resolving theological problems for the learned of his Order and for bishops. A
close friend of St. Rose of Lima, this saintly man died on November 3, 1639 and was canonized on May
6, 1962. His feast day is November 3.
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