About St Martin de Porres Image
About St Martin de Porres

St Martin de Porres was a mixed-race lay Dominican brother from Peru who lived in the late 1500s and was known for his incredible humility and faithfulness.

Read the full St Martin de Porres novena on the novena page. You can also learn more about novenas here.

The Life of St. Martin de Porres

St Martin de Porres was a mixed-race lay Dominican brother from Peru who lived in the late 1500s and was known for his incredible humility and faithfulness.

Martin de Porres Velázquez was born in Lima, Peru on December 9th, 1579. He was the illegitimate son of a Spanish gentleman and a freed slave.

Martin’s father wanted nothing to do with him and his family, so they found themselves in poverty.

Due to his mixed-race, he was considered the lowest class of society, and though pious and prayerful, he was not given admittance to a religious order due to his race.

He asked to volunteer with the Dominicans and take on the most menial of tasks, which allowed him to wear the habit and live with the brothers and priests.

Martin was skilled at cutting hair and the medicinal arts. He also cleaned the priory, laundered clothes and linens, and worked in the kitchen.

After almost ten years, the prior overruled the restriction against mixed-race men joining the Order, and he let Martin take vows as a member of the Third Order of St Dominic.

In spite of being admitted as a Third Order member, some of his fellow Dominicans insulted him for his lineage. But he persevered and became a full lay Brother.

He was indispensable in the infirmary where he assisted in the healing of those who were sick or wounded, no matter who they were.

Martin was blessed by God with many miracles, including bilocation, healing, and with animals.

After his death, Martin’s body was exhumed and was found to be incorrupt, with a heavenly fragrance around it.

St Martin de Porres was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on October 29th, 1837 and canonized by Pope John XXIII on May 6th, 1962.

He is now the patron saint of people of mixed race, innkeepers, barbers, public health workers, and those who fight racism.