by Fr. Jeffery Ott, OP
The Black Catholic Messenger
Happy feast of St Martin de Porres!
Martin was and is a wonderful gift to the church. As the patron saint of racial and social justice, he lived a life worthy of honor and praise. He was a man truly gifted by God to bring healing, order, care, justice, and mercy to everyone he encountered.
The poor and marginalized of 16th- and 17th-century Lima, Perú knew Martin as one who cared for them. He was also a contemporary of (and friends with) Dominican saints Rose of Lima and Juan Macías.
Though he lived more than 400 years ago, Martin is truly a man for our times.
His sanctity and healing powers were recognized widely in Lima. He lived as a Dominican lay brother serving the friars of the community in a house where they numbered more than 200. He was in charge of the infirmary and was the doorkeeper. He was also an all-around fix-it guy.
Though his sanctity was renowned, Brother Martin was not canonized until 1962, in the crucible of the Civil Rights era and the related upheavals taking place. It was also a time of great change in the Church, as the Second Vatican Council was nearing its completion…