Saint Martin de Porres, (1579-1639), patron saint of social justice, and my patron birth saint (as today is my birthday!). Saint Martin is also known as “Martin of Charity,” “the Charitable,” and “Saint of the Broom” as he willingly and joyfully embraced any chore, no matter how menial. Saint Martin’s life of love for all creatures, service, and social justice are made all the more admirable by his profound humility.
Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, and from his youth exhibited a deep devotion to the Eucharist, and a deep affinity for Our Blessed Mother and the Holy Rosary.
"blankets, shirts, candles, candy, miracles or prayers!" When the convent found itself in debt, he said to his superior, "I am only a poor mulatto. Sell me. I am the property of the order. Sell me!"
“Oh, Brother Martin, if only you were here to care for me!” Immediately, he saw the pious saint enter his room, and was miraculously cured. Only later did the merchant learn that Saint Martin had never been in Mexico. He was further observed to experience ecstasies while praying, would be surrounded by a heavenly light, and occasionally would rise off the ground in communion with the Lord!
“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.”
“Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity.” Following that exchange, his Superior gave him liberty to follow his inspirations in the exercise of mercy. Further, he came to be recognized for possessing a bright theological mind (although he was far too humble to offer his thoughts unless ordered to by a superior), and frequently resolved the theological dilemmas of the priests and bishops of his community.
Saint Rose of Lima, together they raised the poor and marginalized of Lima from desolation into the light and faith of Christ. Along the hope, they enacted significant social reform, including wages, healthcare, and education! By the time of his death, Saint Martin was known to the entire city of Lima, and especially revered by the poor and struggling of the city who had considered him as a saint while living. News of his miracles had spread, and these miraculous occurrences continued following his death at his tomb side. Upon exhumation, his body was found to be intact and incorrupt, giving off a fine fragrance of holiness.
“When Martin had come to realize that Christ Jesus “suffered for us and that he carried our sins on his body to the cross, he would meditate with remarkable ardor and affection about Christ on the cross. He had an exceptional love for the great sacrament of the Eucharist and often spent long hours in prayer before the blessed sacrament. His desire was to receive the sacrament in Communion as often as he could. Saint Martin, always obedient and inspired by his divine teacher, dealt with his brothers and with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit. He loved men and because he honestly looked on them as God’s children and as his own brothers and sisters. Such was his humility that he loved them even more than himself, and considered them to be better and more righteous than he was. He did not blame others for their shortcomings. Certain that he deserved more severe punishment for his sins than others did, he would overlook their worst offenses. He was tireless in his efforts to reform the criminal, and he would sit up with the sick to bring them comfort. For the poor he would provide food, clothing and medicine. He did all he could to care for poor farmhands, blacks, and mulattoes who were looked down upon as slaves, the dregs of society in their time. Common people responded by calling him, “Martin the charitable.” He excused the faults of others. He forgave the bitterest injuries, convinced that he deserved much severer punishments on account of his own sins. He tried with all his might to redeem the guilty; lovingly he comforted the sick; he provided food, clothing and medicine for the poor; he helped, as best he could, farm laborers and Negroes, as well as mulattoes, who were looked upon at that time as akin to slaves: thus he deserved to be called by the name the people gave him: ‘Martin of Charity.’ It is remarkable how even today his influence can still move us toward the things of heaven. Sad to say, not all of us understand these spiritual values as well as we should, not do we give them a proper place in our lives. Many of us, in fact, strongly attracted by sin, may look upon these values as of little moment, even something of a nuisance, or we ignore them altogether. It is deeply rewarding for men striving for salvation to follow in Christ’s footsteps and to obey God’s commandments. If only everyone could learn this lesson from the example that Martin gave us.”
To you Saint 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.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."