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St. Martin de Porres

Chaplet of St. Martin dePorres

 

Martin had a great desire to go off to some foreign mission and thus earn the palm of martyrdom. However, since this was not possible, he made a martyr out of his body, devoting himself to ceaseless and severe penances. In turn, God endowed him with many graces and wondrous gifts, such as, aerial flights and bilocation.

St. Martin's love was all-embracing, shown equally to humans and to animals, including vermin, and he maintained a cats and dogs hospital at his sister's house. He also possessed spiritual wisdom, demonstrated in his solving his sister's marriage problems, raising a dowry for his niece inside of three day's time, and resolving theological problems for the learned of his Order and for bishops.

Martin's close friends included Saint Rose of Lima. Although he referred to himself as a "mulatto dog," his community called him the "father of charity." 

The startling miracles, which caused Martin to be called a saint in his own lifetime, continue today at his intercession. He lived a life of almost constant prayer, and practiced remarkable austerities. He worked at hard and menial tasks without ever losing a moment of union with God. His charity, humility, and obedience were extraordinary--even for a saint.

He is the patron saint of interracial relations (because of his universal charity to all men), social justice, public education, public health service, people of mixed race, animal shelters, and Italian barbers and hairdressers


See our devotional chaplets to St. Martin de Porres

 

 

 

Prayers

Chaplet to St. Martin de Porres

On the medal, pray:
Most glorious St. Martin de Porres, whose burning charity embraced not only thy needy brethren, but also the very animals of the field, splendid example of charity, we hail thee and invoke thee! From that high throne which thou dost occupy, deign to listen to the supplications of thy needy brethren that, by imitating thy virtues, we may live contented in that state in which God has placed us and carrying with strength and courage our cross, we may follow in the footsteps of Our Blessed Redeemer and His most afflicted Mother, that at last we may reach the Kingdom of Heaven through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

On each group of beads, mention your petition(s) and pray:
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Dear St. Martin, I turn to you in my sorrow and anxiety to seek your friendly protection. Please intercede for me with our merciful Father in heaven so that I may be truly sorry for all my sins and be freed from the evils that shackle me. Ask that I might have something of your spirit of love and self-sacrifice, and so be at all times reconciled to God's holy will. Oh heavenly Father, in the name of your Son and of His blessed Mother, and by the merits of your faithful servant Martin, help me in my trouble and do not forsake me. Amen

In conclusion, pray:
To you, St. Martin de Porres, we prayerfully lift up our hearts filled with serene confidence and devotion. Mindful of your unbounded and helpful charity to all levels of society and also of your meekness and humility of heart, we offer our petitions to you. Pour out upon our families the precious gifts of your solicitous and generous intercession; show to the people of every race and every color the paths of unity and of justice; implore from our Father in heaven the coming of his kingdom, so that through mutual benevolence in God men may increase the fruits of grace and merit the rewards of eternal life. Amen.


 

 

Triduum to St. Martin de Porres

First Day

St. Martin, you always had sympathy for the poor and those who were suffering. I need your help and now ask for it with great confidence in your goodness and power. Please remember me, as you adore God. Amen.

(Mention your petitions, followed by the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and Closing Prayer.)

Closing Prayer: Dear St. Martin, I turn to you in my sorrow and anxiety to seek your friendly protection. Please intercede for me with our merciful Father in heaven so that I may be truly sorry for all my sins and be freed from the evils that shackle me. Ask that I might have something of your spirit of love and self-sacrifice, and so be at all times reconciled to God's holy will. Oh heavenly Father, in the name of your Son and of His blessed Mother, and by the merits of your faithful servant Martin, help me in my trouble and do not forsake me. Amen.

Second Day

St. Martin, we praise God for the manifestation of His love. The favors you received from God encourage us now to seek your intercession and help. We ask you most humbly to befriend and assist us from your place in heaven; but most of all, we beg you to commend us to our beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Petitions, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and Closing Prayer.)

Closing Prayer: Dear St. Martin, I turn to you in my sorrow and anxiety to seek your friendly protection. Please intercede for me with our merciful Father in heaven so that I may be truly sorry for all my sins and be freed from the evils that shackle me. Ask that I might have something of your spirit of love and self-sacrifice, and so be at all times reconciled to God's holy will. Oh heavenly Father, in the name of your Son and of His blessed Mother, and by the merits of your faithful servant Martin, help me in my trouble and do not forsake me. Amen.

Third Day

Brother Martin, when you were here on earth, you spent your life loving God and your neighbor. This we know from the testimony of your own Dominican brethren. Now that you live in the presence of God in paradise, intercede for those who stand so much in need of the healing help of God and beg the Divine Physician to give us health of the soul and body. Amen.

(Petitions, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and Closing Prayer.)

Closing Prayer: Dear St. Martin, I turn to you in my sorrow and anxiety to seek your friendly protection. Please intercede for me with our merciful Father in heaven so that I may be truly sorry for all my sins and be freed from the evils that shackle me. Ask that I might have something of your spirit of love and self-sacrifice, and so be at all times reconciled to God's holy will. Oh heavenly Father, in the name of your Son and of His blessed Mother, and by the merits of your faithful servant Martin, help me in my trouble and do not forsake me. Amen.


 

 

History/Background

SAINT MARTIN de PORRES
Dominican Coadjutor Brother
(1579-1639)

Saint Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579, during the days when Spanish noblemen and many adventurers were still in the land, fascinated by the lure of the gold and silver which abounded there. He was the natural son of one of these and a young Indian woman. It was not long before his dark complexion caused his father to be ashamed of him and his mother, and to abandon them. Later the father would regret his too rapid decision, and take Martin under his protection.

The young boy often heard himself referred to as a half-breed, and all his life long, his profound humility saw in himself only the magnanimity of God amid the inadequacy of his origins. When his mother could not support him and his sister, Martin was confided to a primary school for two years, then placed with a surgeon to learn the medical arts. This caused him great joy, though he was only ten years old, for he could exercise charity to his neighbor while earning his living. Already he was spending hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased rather than diminished as he grew older. Until his death he would flagellate himself three times every night, for his own failings and for the conversion of pagans and sinners.

He asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received first as a tertiary. When he was 24, he was given the habit of a Coadjutor Brother and assigned to the infirmary of that convent, where he would remain in service until his death at the age of sixty. His superiors saw in him the virtues necessary to exercise unfailing patience in this difficult role, and he never disappointed them. On the contrary, it was not long before miracles began to happen, and Saint Martin was working also with the sick outside his convent, often bringing them healing with only a simple glass of water. He begged for alms to procure for them necessities the Convent could not provide, and Providence always supplied what he sought.

One day an aged beggar, covered with ulcers and almost naked, stretched out his hand, and Saint Martin, seeing the Divine Mendicant in him, took him to his own bed, paying no heed to the fact that he was not perfectly neat and clean. One of his brethren, considering he had gone too far in his charity, reproved him. Saint Martin replied: “Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness. Reflect that with a little soap I can easily clean my bed covers, but even with a torrent of tears I would never wash from my soul the stain that my harshness toward the unfortunate would create.”

When an epidemic struck Lima, there were in this single convent of the Rosary sixty religious who were sick, many of them novices in a distant and locked section of the convent, separated from the professed. Saint Martin is known to have passed through the locked doors to care for them, a phenomenon which was observed in the residence more than once. The professed, too, saw him suddenly beside them without the doors having been opened; and these facts were duly verified by the surprised Superiors. Martin continued to transport the sick to the convent until the provincial Superior, alarmed by the contagion threatening the religious, forbid him to continue to do so. His sister, who lived in the country, offered her house to lodge those whom the residence of the religious could not hold. One day he found on the street a poor Indian, bleeding to death from a dagger wound, and took him to his own room until he could transport him to his sister’s hospice. The Superior, when he heard of this, reprimanded his subject for disobedience. He was extremely edified by his reply: “Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity.” In effect, there are situations where charity must prevail; and instruction is very necessary. The Superior gave him liberty thereafter to follow his inspirations in the exercise of mercy.

In normal times Saint Martin succeeded with his alms to feed 160 poor persons every day, and distributed a remarkable sum of money every week to the indigent — the latter phenomenon hard to explain by ordinary calculations. To Saint Martin the city of Lima owed a famous residence founded for orphans and abandoned children, where they were formed in piety for a creative Christian life. This lay Brother had always wanted to be a missionary, but never left his native city; yet even during his lifetime he was seen elsewhere, in regions as far distant as Africa, China, Algeria, Japan. An African slave who had been in irons said he had known Martin when he came to relieve and console many like himself, telling them of heaven. When later the same slave saw him in Peru, he was very happy to meet him again and asked him if he had had a good voyage; only later did he learn that Saint Martin had never left Lima. A merchant from Lima was in Mexico and fell ill; he said aloud: “Oh, Brother Martin, if only you were here to care for me..!” and immediately saw him enter his room. And again, this man did not know until later that he had never been in Mexico.

Even sick animals came to Martin for healing. He demonstrated a great control of and care for animals--a care that apparently was inexplicable to the Spaniards--extending his love even to rats and mice, whose scavenging he excused on the grounds that they were hungry. He kept cats and dogs at his sister's house.

Great as his healing faculty was, Martin is probably best remembered for the legend of the rats. It is said that the prior, a reasonable man, objected to the rodents. He ordered Martin to set out poison for them. Martin obeyed, but was very sorry for the rats. He went out into the garden and called softly--and out came the rats. He reprimanded them for their bad habits, telling them about the poison. He further assured them that he would feed them every day in the garden, if they would refrain from annoying the prior. This they agreed upon. He dismissed the rodents and forever after, they never troubled the monastery.

When he died in 1639, Saint Martin was known to the entire city of Lima; word of his miracles had made him known as a Saint to every resident of the region. After his death, the miracles and graces received when he was invoked multiplied in such profusion that his body was exhumed after 25 years and found intact, and exhaling a fine fragrance. Letters to Rome pleaded for his beatification; the decree affirming the heroism of his virtues was issued in 1763 by Clement XIII; Gregory XVI beatified him in 1836, and in 1962 Pope John XXIII canonized him. The poor and the sick will never fail to find in him a friend having great power over the Heart of God.

Source: Vie du Bienheureux Martin de Porrès, by Fr. Arthur M. Granger, O.P. (Dominican Press: St. Hyacinthe, 1941).

He died of quatrain fever at Rosary Convent on November 3. The Spanish viceroy, the count of Chinchón, came to kneel at his deathbed and ask his blessing. Martin was carried to his grave by prelates and noblemen.

The startling miracles, which caused Martin to be called a saint in his own lifetime, continue today at his intercession. He lived a life of almost constant prayer, and practiced remarkable austerities. He worked at hard and menial tasks without ever losing a moment of union with God. His charity, humility, and obedience were extraordinary--even for a saint. Such was the veneration for Martin that the canonical inquiry into his cause was begun in 1660 (Attwater, Cavallini, Delaney, Dorcy, Farmer, Walsh, White).

He is the patron saint of interracial relations (because of his universal charity to all men), social justice, public education, and television in Peru, Spanish trade unionists (due to injustices workers have suffered), Peru's public health service, people of mixed race, and Italian barbers and hairdressers (White)

 





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