Thought for the Day – 3 November – The Memorial of St Martin de Porres OP (1579-1639)
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.
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 St Pope John XXIII Canonised him.
The poor and the sick will never fail to find in him a friend having great power over the Heart of God.