A Project of the Ignatian Solidarity Network A project of Ignatian Solidarity Network Login Become a Member
Education for Justice
Search

Saint Martin de Porres was the son of a freed woman of Panama, and a Spanish nobleman from Lima, Peru. After the birth of a sister, the father abandoned the family, and Martin was left in poverty. When he was 12, his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon. Martin learned how to cut hair and also how to draw blood—a standard medical treatment then—care for wounds, and prepare and administer medicines.

Martin later became a lay Dominican brother, and he continued to nurse the sick and care for the poor. He treated all people regardless of their color, race, or status. He was instrumental in founding an orphanage, took care of enslaved people brought from Africa, and managed the daily alms of the priory with practicality, as well as generosity. Martin also became a formidable fundraiser, obtaining thousands of dollars for dowries for poor girls so that they could marry or enter a convent.

He is the patron saint of African Americans, Barbers, Hairdressers, Race Relations, Radio, and Social Justice.

Novena for Racial Justice

Education for Justice Resources: