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National Shrine of
"Seeking to Know Him and to Tell those Who Need to Know Him"







Also known as: Martin of Charity; the Saint of the Broom (for his devotion to his work, no matter how menial)

Memorial: 3 November

Profile: Illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a young freed black slave , he grew up in poverty . Spent part of his youth with a surgeon - barber from whom he learned some medicine and care of the sick .

At age 11 he became a servant in the Dominican priory. Promoted to almoner , he begged more than $2,000 a week from the rich to support the poor and sick of Lima. Placed in charge of the Dominican 's infirmary ; known for his tender care of the sick and for his spectacular cures . His superiors dropped the stipulation that "no black person may be received to the holy habit or profession of our order" and Martin took vows as a Dominican brother.

Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage


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Established an orphanage and children 's hospital for the poor children of the slums. Set up a shelter for the stray cats and dogs and nursed them back to health. Lived in self-imposed austerity, never ate meat, fasted continuously, and spent much time in prayer and meditation. Great devotion to the Eucharist. Friend of Saint John de Massias .

He was venerated from the day of his death. Many miraculous cures, including raising the dead attributed to Brother Martin. First black American saint.

Born: 9 December 1579 at Lima, Peru

Died: 1639 of fever

Beatified: 1873

Canonized: 16 May 1962 by Pope John XXIII