Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrating the Feast of St. Martin de Porres

Coming up very soon on the Liturgical calendar, this Monday (November 3rd), is the feast day of a saint you might not have heard of before: St. Martin de Porres. Born in 1579 in Peru, Martin was the illegitimate child of a wealthy Spaniard and a freed colored woman. In looks Martin took after his mother, and his father kicked him out of the house. Raised in poverty, at around the age of 12, Martin was placed into an apprenticeship where he learned the basic skills of a barber and how to run an infirmary.

At the age of 15, St. Martin went to the local Dominican monastery, requesting to become one of their order. He finally became a lay Dominican and remained in that one monastery in Lima for the whole of his life. Not only was he able to serve as a barber and a infirmaries, St. Martin also worked as a farm laborer. All animals, even down to the rats, he saw as lovable as one of God's creatures. When needed Martin was the one to raise funds for projects and missions. He also happened to be great friends with another saint from Lima: St. Rose.

Possessing the spiritual gift of bilocation, it is said that St. Martin de Porres was able to serve the sick during an epidemic that struck the city, passing through even locked doors to offer compassion and medicinal help. Attributed to this saint is the quote: "Compassion is preferable to cleanliness."

St. Martin died in 1639, and he is often depicted with a broom. He is the Patron saint of Peru, poor people, hair dressers, and social justice.

To get you started on celebrating this coming Monday, here are a few ideas:


This traditional dish from Peru: Peruvian Arroz con Pollo (recipe from Que Rica Vida) looks delicious and can be easily changed to include a different offering of meat or to be completely vegetarian.

Supposedly this dessert originated in Peru and would, therefore, be appropriate to finish off your meal: Arroz con Leche or you could go with a little fancier. Picarones, fried up sweet potato and pumpkin donuts, look a little more challenging in the cooking realm, but they also look pretty tasty.

Activities + Crafts

Just as St. Martin loved and served the poor around him, especially at this time of year, a simple service project directed towards the food pantries and shelters in your area would be appropriate. In going with the barber theme, you could see if a shelter is in need of razors, shaving cream, and other toiletries.

Don't forget his love for animals - visit an animal shelter. A mouse craft would also be perfect here, given St. Martin's love for even the least of the creatures. For a preschooler, this simple shape mouse craft would be perfect!

Running in the last minute camp? No worries - this coloring page depicts St. Martin with his broom.

Say a special prayer for the orphaned, the widows, and the sick.


Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert by Gary Schmidt and illustrated by David Diaz

We actually first learned about St. Martin de Porres through this picture book after finding it in the library a few years back. This book does have a little negativity shown towards priests that don't let St. Martin advance in religious orders, but all in all it's a lovely telling of his life. The artwork is also superb.

The Pied Piper of Peru by Ann Tompert

This story keys in on St. Martin's love for the mice and his unwillingness to hurt any of God's creatures.

Saint Martin de Porres by Mary Fabyan Windeatt

I have not had the chance to check this book out yet, but I have heard so many great things about books from this author that I figured I'd include it, so you might have the chance to find it and read it with your kids.

Another I've had recommended to me but haven't yet checked out myself. I'd love to know what you think of it if it's one you've already read!

And in ending a prayer to St. Martin de Porres:

To you Saint Martin de Porres we prayerfully lift up our hearts filled with serene confidence and devotion. Mindful of your unbounded and helpful charity to all levels of society and also of your meekness and humility of heart, we offer our petitions to you. Pour out upon our families the precious gifts of your solicitous and generous intercession; show to the people of every race and every color the paths of unity and of justice; implore from our Father in heaven the coming of his kingdom, so that through mu tual benevolence in God men may increase the fruits of grace and merit the rewards of eternal life. Amen.

I hope your celebration of this saint's feast day is wonderful no matter how you observe this day. I'd love to hear if you have any special activities or foods that you do for St. Martin - comment here and share what your family does!

Image used under Creative Common liscence. Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception (Norfolk, Virginia), interior, stained glass, Saint Martin de Porres by Nheyob

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This post: Celebrating the Feast of St. Martin de Porres first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 30 October 2014 


  1. No idea what's been up with my comments as of late, they haven't been registering or something, but just wanted to say thanks for the reminder! Our ten-year-old's favorite saint, atleast the past couple years, is Martin de Porres, and he's been asking to make something forvisiting feastday, so this was much appreciated! We'll let you know how it turns out, everything's finishing up on the stove as I type :]

    1. Oops, make something for* his* feastday.. Bah, phones!

    2. How fun! I'd love to hear how your celebrations went Thanks for stopping by. =)


Heyo! Welcome to Two Os Plus More! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note. I *do* read and appreciate each and every comment, but sometimes due to, you know, life and stuff, it does take me a bit to reply. Cheers!

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