Black Saints: Martín de Porres

St. Martin de Porres is depicted in a stained glass window at Holy Rosary Church in Minneapolis.
This article appears in the Black Saints feature series. View the full series.


Blacks in Catholic Christianity have a long and vibrant history.

Much of that history is generally unknown to Black Catholics as well as to the rest of the faithful. On July 24, 1990, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month to celebrate this long history and proud heritage of Black Catholics. During this month we celebrate the presence of our ancestors who kept the faith and are models of living the Gospel life.

Nov. 3 Saint Martín de Porres

Did you know that the only saint, of African origin, in the Western Hemisphere to date, is Saint Martín de Porres of Lima, Peru?

He was born in 1579, as the unwanted son of a Spanish knight and a freed African salve woman. Saint Martín showed signs of the virtues of modesty, humility and charity for the poor, early in his life. As a Dominican Brother, Saint Martín founded an orphanage and a hospital. He also ministered to hundreds of unhappy people from Africa, who were forced into slavery in the new western world. Saint Martín is recognized in the Church as both the Patron saint of Peru and of the poor. His feast day is celebrated today.

November is Black Catholic History Month, read more about it.

This is copyrighted material, used with the permission of the Archdiocese of Washington, Office of Black Catholics.

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