Celebrating Martin the Charitable


Today is the feast of St. Martin de Porres, a Dominican saint from Peru. Here in Texas we give this day special importance because our state is in the Southern Dominican Province of the United States, which is dedicated to St. Martin de Porres. So this is our patronal feast day–and we are blessed to be a part of this missionary province. 

St. Martin was particularly known for his charity. He was always caring for the sick and unwanted, even bringing them into the Dominican priory where he lived as a cooperator brother. The prior was not too happy about this (and probably not some of the brothers either), but Martin\’s goodness won the day and he continued his ministry of mercy until his death. 

St. Martin also had a special relationship with animals. As you can see in the drawing above, he is frequently pictured with various animals–cats, mice, rats, dogs, birds–all co-existing in harmony with each other–even, in this case, sharing the same bowl of food! Martin achieved this by speaking gently with these creatures, and through the grace of God miracles abounded. Martin is perhaps best known for ending a plague of mice in the priory by simply asking the mice to stay outside. Which they did. To this day, popular legend suggests that if you pray to St. Martin and later see a mouse (alive or a representation thereof) your prayer will be answered. 

St. Martin, who was the son of a free Black woman and a Spanish noble, is also the patron of social justice, as one of our sisters illustrated during the 1960s. 

He is an excellent patron for our country–and our world–today, which is why we wanted to dedicate this post to him today. 

As our chaplain pointed out in his homily this morning, St. Martin was able to bring enemies together and encourage them to be friends–as seen by the animals peacefully gathered around the food. Today in the United States we go to the polls to elect a President and members of the House and Senate. While the secular world encourages us to believe that all that we hold dear hangs on the outcome of this election, we should also keep in mind that political solutions will never have the power to save us. Only God can do that! So, we encourage all our fellow Americans to vote–but remember, whatever happens, God is still Lord of Heaven and earth. No election result can change that! And God is able to bring good out of any circumstance. Let us view these coming days (and possibly weeks) with serenity, knowing that God is in control of everything. And let us, like St. Martin de Porres\’ animal friends, learn to live together in peace and harmony, regardless of race, color, class or religion–because we are all, in the end, God\’s children.

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