St. Martin de Porres was known as a healer and servant of the poor. He was born at Lima, Peru, in 1579. Born the son of a Spanish nobleman and a Panamanian freed slave, he grew up poverty-stricken in Lima, Peru, until becoming a lay helper for the Dominicans at age 15. Although at the time men of mixed race were not permitted to join the order, Saint Martin's compassion and humility convinced the Dominicans to allow him to become a monk.
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 sever penances. In turn, God endowed him with many graces and wondrous gifts, such s aerial flights and bilocation.
St. Martin's love was all-embracing, shown equally to humans and animals, including vermin, and he maintained a cats' and dogs' hospital at his sister's house. He also possessed spiritual wisdom, solving his sister's marriage problems, raising a dowry for his niece inside of three days' time, and resolving theological problems for the learned of his Order and for Bishops.
A close friend of St. Rose of Limar, this saintly man dies on 3 Nov 1639, and was canonized on 6 May 1962, by Pope John XXIII.
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