St Martin de Porres
St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579. Martin was the illegitimate son to a Spanish gentlemen and a freed slave from Panama, of African or possibly Native American descent. At a young age, Martin's father abandoned him, his mother and his younger sister, leaving Martin to grow up in deep poverty.
As Martin grew older, he experienced a great deal of ridicule for being of mixed-race. In Peru, by law, all descendants of African or Indians were not allowed to become full members of religious orders. Martin, who spent long hours in prayer, found his only way into the Dominican community and what he longed for was to ask the Dominicans of Holy Rosary Priory in Lima to accept him as a volunteer who performed the most menial tasks in the monastery. During his time in the Convent, Martin took on his old trades of barbering and healing. He also worked in the kitchen, did laundry and cleaned. After eight more years with the Holy Rosary, Martin was granted the privilege to take his vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic by the prior Juan de Lorenzana who decided to disregard the law restricting Martin based on race.
Martin's life reflected his great love for God and all of God's gifts. Martin also founded an orphanage for abandoned children and slaves.
In January of 1639, when Martin was 60-years-old, he would experience almost a year full of illness until he passed away on November 3, 1639.
St. Martin de Porres was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on October 29, 1837 and canonized by Pope John XXIII on May 6, 1962.
He has become the patron saint of interracial harmony, innkeepers, barbers, public health workers and more. His feast day is November 3.