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St. Martin de PorresBorn in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579, Martin was the illegitimate son of Juan de Porras, a noble Spanish knight, and Ana Velázquez, a freed black slave from Panama.

To his father’s great displeasure, Martin had inherited his mother’s features and dark skin, and while he acknowledged him as his son, soon after the birth of Martin’s sister Juana, Juan de Porras left the children to the care of their mother.

At the age of twelve, his mother apprenticed Martin to a barber-surgeon from whom he learned not only the duties of a barber but also how to draw blood and to prepare and administer medicine. Three years later, he entered the Dominican Priory of the Holy Rosary in Lima where he applied himself to the lowliest tasks.

After many years, under obedience to his religious superiors, he was compelled to accept the habit of a professed lay brother, an honor that he had considered too great for himself.

Devoted to Our Lord’s Passion from his childhood, he lived a life of almost constant prayer. His charity, humility and obedience were extraordinary and he practiced unbelievable austerities. As almoner, Martin was charged with distributing the Priory’s alms to the poor.

Oftentimes, it was noted that when the food was insufficient for the needs at hand, it miraculously increased. His skills as a surgeon were also in great demand within and outside the Priory walls and he was put in charge of caring for the sick, a duty he exercised with unfailing patience. With equal charity he ministered to Spanish nobles and the lowliest slaves, recently arrived from Africa. Cures became too numerous to count. But it was as much by his prayers as through his medical ability that he cured the most daunting diseases.

Although he never left Lima once he entered the Dominican Order, Martin was seen in foreign countries by people who knew him well. He was known to bilocate to the bedside of the sick, consoling them in their sufferings, often curing them of their infirmities; he reserved his most tender solicitude for the dying. During prayer, he was often seen in ecstasy before the Blessed Sacrament, suspended in midair and surrounded by light.

St. Martin was a contemporary and close friend of both St. John Massias and St. Rose of Lima. Before his death, among other works of charity, he who had been abandoned by his own father founded a residence for orphans and abandoned children.

He died on November 3, 1639 after a long and painful illness. The entire population of Lima, high-born and low, flocked to his funeral, at which the Prior himself officiated. Four of the humble lay brother’s closest friends – the Viceroy, the Archbishop of Mexico, the Bishop of Cuzco and the Judge of the Royal Court – carried his body to its resting place.

Martin was beatified in 1837 and canonized in 1962.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 12, 2019

Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach...

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November 12

 

Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace.
The gift of grace increases as the struggles increase.

St. Rose of Lima


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Josaphat Kunsevich

“Kill the papist!” His mutilated body was dragged to the...

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St. Josaphat Kunsevich

John Kunsevich was born in Lithuania around the year 1580. His father, a burgess for a wealthy family, raised his son as a Catholic and instilled in him a great love for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As a young man John spent much of his time learning Church Slavonic as he desired to assist and participate more fully in the divine worship that he loved so much. In 1604, he entered the Monastery of the Holy Trinity at Vilna taking the name Josaphat, and dedicated his life to uniting the Ruthenians with the Roman Church.

Josaphat was ordained a deacon and soon after, a priest, becoming widely known as a Catholic reformer. While retaining unity with Rome, Josaphat opposed the total Latinization of the Ruthenian peoples and the suppression of Byzantine traditions. He was beloved for his great sermons and preaching, eventually becoming abbot of the monastery in Vilna. By 1617, he was consecrated Bishop of Vitebsk, and after the death of the archbishop a year later, succeeded him. He immediately sought unity with Rome, and began to reinstate Catholic practices that had fallen into disuse. By 1620, he succeeded in the endeavor.

Soon after Josaphat’s great victory, however, his work began to unravel. Meletius Smotritsky, the Archbishop of Polotsk, claimed that Josaphat’s goal was to completely eliminate Byzantine traditions in the name of Catholic unity, and Latinize all Ruthenians. Meletius gained a number of followers and so frenzied was the agitation against him that a plan was contrived to kill Josaphat. As he walked to church for morning prayers, he was attacked by the group of Meletius’ followers. He was beaten and shot as his attackers cried, “Kill the papist!” His mutilated body was dragged to the river Dvina and carelessly thrown into the water.

St. Josaphat was canonized in 1867, the first saint of the Eastern churches to be officially canonized.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Centuries ago, in Toledo, Spain, there lived a Cistercian nu...

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A Favor Granted

Centuries ago, in Toledo, Spain, there lived a Cistercian nun called Mary. Being at the point of death, the Blessed Mother appeared to her, and Mary said to her:

"Oh Lady, the favor you do me of visiting me at this hour emboldens me to ask you another favor, namely, that I may die at the same hour that you died and entered into heaven.”

"Yes," answered Mary Most Holy. "I will satisfy your request; you will die at that hour, and you will hear the songs and praises with which the blessed accompanied my entrance into heaven; and now prepare for your death."

When she had said this she disappeared.

Passing by Mary’s cell, other nuns heard her talking to herself, and they thought she must be losing her mind. But she related to them the vision of the Virgin Mary and the promised grace. Soon the entire convent awaited the desired hour.

When Mary knew the hour had arrived, by the striking of the clock, she said:

"Behold, the predicted hour has come; I hear the music of the angels. At this hour my queen ascended into heaven. Rest in peace, for I am going now to see her."

Saying this she expired, while her eyes became bright as stars, and her face glowed with a beautiful color.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Centuries ago, in Toledo, Spain, there lived a Cistercian nun called Mary. Being at the point of death, the Blessed Mother appeared to her,

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