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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 January 21, 2021

All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going...

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January 21

 

All the strength of Satan’s reign
is due to
the easy-going weakness of Catholics.


Pope St. Pius X


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Agnes

Even pagans were moved to tears at the sight of the radiant...

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St. Agnes

Agnes was born around 291 in a Christian, patrician family of Rome, and suffered martyrdom in the terrible persecution of Diocletian.

As a young maiden, she pledged herself to Christ and defended her virginity to the death.

Exceptionally beautiful, she turned down numerous suitors, but when she refused Procop, the Prefect’s own son, things became very complicated. Procop tried to win Agnes with gifts and promises but she answered: “I’m already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!”

Angered, Procop  took  the maiden before his father, and accused her of being a Christian. The Prefect tried to turn her from her Faith first by cajolements, and then by placing her in chains, but she only rejoiced.

The pagan official, set on overcoming Agnes by any means, next had her taken to a house of prostitution but she was visibly protected by an angel.

Finally, Agnes was condemned to death, but she was happy as a bride about to meet her bridegroom. Even pagan bystanders were moved to tears at the sight of the radiant maiden going to her death, and begged her to relent, to which she retorted: “If I were to try to please you, I would offend my Spouse. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then praying, she offered her neck for the death stroke.

St. Agnes is one of seven women besides the Blessed Virgin to be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. She is the patron of chastity, young girls, engaged couples, rape victims and virgins. She is depicted holding a lamb as her name in Latin means “lamb”, “agnus”. But the name “Agnes” is actually taken from the Greek “hagne” meaning chaste, pure, sacred.

Agnes’ relics repose beneath the high altar of the Church of Sant’Agnese Fuori le mura, built upon the place she was originally buried. This church was built in her honor by the daughter of the Emperor Constantine, and is one of the oldest in Rome.  St. Agnes’ skull is in the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone at Piazza Navona.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

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

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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