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Novena to St. Martin de Porres for Healing, Race Relations, People of Mixed Race Heritage, Racial Harmony

A friend reminded me to start the Novena to St. Martin de Porres today. Today is October 26. It is nine days from St. Martin's feast day, November 3. Start praying the Novena to St. Martin de Porres today.

What is St. Martin de Porres the patron saint of? What do you pray to St Martin de Porres for? More on that below ...

Plus! A personal account of St. Martin de Porres' miraculous healing powers ...

OR, just skip down to the Novena for St. Martin de Porres' intercession by clicking the link:

St. Martin de Porres' Intercession: Personal Account of Miraculous Healing    

St. Martin de Porres has been special to me for a long time. He is my confirmation saint. 

I chose St. Martin de Porres (or he chose me), because he helped me through a really close call in high school. My appendix ruptured. The doctors didn't realize my appendix had ruptured until, if you can believe it, two weeks later

Normally after two weeks later, an undiagnosed, ruptured appendix is buried ... along with the rest of the patient.  

The doctors had a bit of an excuse for not realizing my appendix had ruptured. 

Just a few weeks earlier, I had been a passenger in a car accident. I was sleeping when the van went off the road. I woke up at some point, maybe before the first collision, maybe not. I can't really remember. In all, we totaled four or five vehicles after we entered the opposing lane of traffic. It was nuts. 

My whole family survived that accident, mostly uninjured. That was miraculous enough. 

I thought I was uninjured. It turned out that the thrust of the seatbelt rearranged my guts a bit. The doctors later struggled to diagnose my ruptured appendix, because my appendix had relocated. 

Meanwhile, the nuns of my family were praying novenas to St. Martin de Porres.   

After two weeks with a ruptured appendix, the doctors finally decided to give me a full CT scan, instead of just X-rays. I was soon being prepped for surgery. 

Thankfully, miraculously, all the infection had encapsulated. All that bad stuff that should have been flowing into my body and causing septicemia - about a softball-size blob of it - had been held together, as if my the hands of Jesus, himself.  

It took some time and subsequent surgeries, but after 40 days, I was healed. It was a period of great spiritual growth, both for myself and my parents. My dad began RCIA shortly thereafter and became Catholic. 

Who was St Martin de Porres? Video Biography of St. Martin de Porres

Here is a biography of St. Martin de Porres produced by the Rosary Shrine of St. Jude:

Pope Saint John XXIII spoke two years prior to the canonization of Martin de Porres saying,

I have thought of your lands, your immense and beautiful continent, lands where saints have flourished ... humble, pure and innocent ... Such was Martin de Porres, long recognized as blessed, but upon whose forehead we already see shining the radiant halo of the saints ... It is necessary to always speak and practice the truth, to observe the virtue of justice for all people, doing harm to no one, and, above all, to establish a world of fraternal and universal love. This is the great triumph of the gospel, the purest flower of Christian civilization and culture.

Later on May 6, 1962, Pope St. John XXIII canonized Martin, saying, “ A springtime flower has opened in the Church.”

The historical environs of Martin’s life are rather well known as they deal with the struggles of the American continent during a time of adventurous pioneers, monstrous conquerors; pagan savages and peaceful natives; and heralds of the Gospel, defenders of the indefensible. Father Antonio de Montesinos was one of the twelve original Dominicans sent to the New World, arriving in 1510 at the island of Hispaniola, and one of the first to denounce the ill treatment of the natives. He would be the first in a line of compassionate friars that would seek justice and salvation for the natives of America. In 1551 the friars arrived in Martin’s hometown of Lima and established the University of San Marcos—the first in all of the Americas.

Why is Saint Martin de Porres Known as the Patron Saint of Social Justice and Race Relations?

St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579. His mother was a freed slave and his father was a Spanish nobleman. St. Martin's father did not acknowledge him. As a result, St. Martin endured hardship and extreme prejudice in his childhood and throughout his life. 

St. Martin also experienced a great deal of ridicule and prejudice for being of mixed-race. According to the law of Peru, persons of African or Indian heritage were not allowed to become full members of religious orders. 

Nevertheless, at age 15, St. Martin applied to join the Convent of the Rosary in Lima, a Dominican monastery. St. Martin encountered intense resistance in his attempts to enter the Dominican Order. One of St. Martin's fellow novices even called him a "mulatto dog".[1] Racial restrictions dictated that he be given the position of "tertiary" or lay helper, which he enthusiastically accepted.[2]

St. Martin de Porres often challenged his brothers on their racial attitudes.[4] 

In one story, St. Martin came upon a group of Indians sweeping the floor under the watchful eye of one of the Dominican brothers. St. Martin was told they were cleaning to repay a meal they had received. St. Martin pointed out that the same brother had fed some white people the previous day without forcing them to clean. After St. Martin’s firm but gentle challenge, the brother took up the broom himself.

St. Martin also challenged the way servants were treated. He frequently insisted on performing such hard and menial chores as caring for the Order’s horses in the evenings. St. Martin insisted on these chores, even when reminded that servants were available for these chores. St. Martin would argue that the servants were tired from their day’s work. 

St. Martin also extended his healing gifts to all races. He would visit the servants’ quarters and treat their ailments.

"What is the name of the black saint?"

Google reports that this is one of the most commonly used queries used to search for St. Martin de Porres. It's unfortunate, if only because there are so many black saints and saints of African descent and heritage. 

Here is a non-exhaustive list of "black" saints and holy people: Charles Lwanga and his companions, Augustus Tolton, Sister Thea Bowman, Benedict the Moor, James, Alexander, and Patrick Healy, Mother Mary Lange, Charles Randoph Uncles, Pierre Toussaint, Josephine Bakhita, Mother Henriette Delille, AND Martin de Porres, to name a few.

There are also many African saints, several of whom are almost as ancient as the Church, herself: Saints Augustine and Monica, Anthony of Alexandria, Perpetua and Felicity, Victor, Melchiades, Gelasius, Maurice, Julian and Basilissa.   

Pope Francis has also recently open the cause for canonization for many other black saints, including Servant of God Julia Greeley, Denver's Angel of Charity:


Was St. Martin de Porres the First Black Saint?

Not exactly. St. Martin de Porres was the first black saint of the Americas

There are many, many Catholic saints from Africa dating from the earliest years of Christianity. These include Saints Augustine and Monica, Felicity and Perpetua, and others.

What do you pray to St Martin de Porres for? What is St Martin de Porres the patron saint of?

St. Martin de Porres is the patron saint of health care workers, appendicitis and other intestinal maladies (like a ruptured appendix, see above personal account), barbers, and innkeepers. 

Also, due to his life and racial heritage, St. Martin is the patron of many intentions related to race relations, including racial reconciliation, persons of mixed race heritage, social justice, and racial harmony, among others. 

Ask St. Martin to pray for us for all these things.

What miracles did St Martin de Porres perform?

After St. Martin de Porres had been given the religious habit of a lay Dominican brother, he was assigned to the infirmary. St. Martin was placed in charge of the infirmary and would remain in service there from the age of 34 until his death at the age of 59.[3] 

St. Martin was known for his care of the sick. His superiors recognized in him unfailing patience in this difficult role. It was not long before miracles, attributable to St. Martin, began to occur in the infirmary and beyond. St. Martin also cared for the sick outside his convent, often bringing them healing with only a simple glass of water. He ministered without distinction to Spanish nobles and to slaves recently brought from Africa.[2] 

St. Martin de Porres Miracles: Passing Through Locked Doors, Bilocation, Levitation, Rapport with Animals

60 friars of St. Martin's Convent of the Rosary were suddenly struck by illness when an epidemic hit Lima. Many of the sick, however, were novices. Since the novices were kept separate from the professed members of the order, the sick novices were housed in a distant and locked section of the convent. St. Martin is said to have passed through the locked doors to care for them. This phenomenon was reported in the residence more than once.

The extraordinary fit side-by-side with the ordinary in St. Martin's life.

Along with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, St. Martin's is said to have many extraordinary experiences: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light that filled the rooms where he prayed, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and a remarkable rapport with animals.

What are the attributes and sayings of Saint Martin de Porres?  

One day an aged beggar stretched out his hand to St. Martin. The beggar was covered with ulcers and almost naked. Because the diseased man would not be accepted elsewhere, St. Martin gave him his own bed. One of St. Martin's brother Dominicans reproved him for this. St. Martin replied: "Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness."

Though separate by several hundred years, St. Martin might remind you of Mother Teresa. 

St. Martin once found a poor Indian on the street, bleeding to death from a dagger wound. St. Martin again gave the man his own bed, until he could be transported to a hospice run by St. Martin's sister.

When St. Martin's prior heard of this, St. Martin was again reprimanded for disobedience. The prior was extremely edified, however, by St. Martin's reply: "Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity."[5]

Thereafter, the prior gave St. Martin great latitude to follow his inspirations in the exercise of mercy.

Novena to St. Martin de Porres

The original text for the following Novena to St. Martin de Porres was created by the Rosary Shrine of St. Jude.


Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 1

First Day – Saint Martin’s Humility

Saint Martin imitated Our Lord, Who was meek and humble of heart. There was no pride or vanity in his soul. He realized that God is our Creator and that we are but His creatures. He understood that God loves us as children and only wants us to be happy. So he had common sense enough to submit entirely to the Holy Will of God. Let us all imitate Saint Martin by humbly doing the Will of God in all things.


O Saint Martin, ask Our Lord and His Blessed Mother to give us the grace of true humility that we may not be puffed up with foolish pride, but have sense to be content with the gifts that God gives us. Obtain for us the light of the Holy Spirit that we may understand, as you did, that pride is a deceit of the devil and that only by doing the Will of God can we be really happy. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to praying the Rosary.

Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 2

Second Day – Saint Martin’s Love of God

Saint Martin’s whole soul was filled with the fire of God’s love. He knew the Almighty God sent His Only Son into the world to suffer and die on the Cross for our Sins. His heart was stirred with deep affection for so loving a Redeemer, and his whole life gives evidence of his sincere gratitude. May we, too, learn to love Our Savior more and more and show our love by our good works.


O Saint Martin, why are our hearts so cold and lacking in love for the Son of God, Who became a little Child for our salvation? Why are we so slow to love One Who loved us so much that He gave His life for mankind? Ask God and Our Lady of Sorrows to make us realize that the only way to happiness is by loving and serving God with all our hearts and souls. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to praying the Rosary.

Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 3

Third Day – Saint Martin’s Love of the Poor

Saint Martin was called “The Father of the Poor.” He saw in the poor, the sick, and the dying the children of God, and he helped them in a thousand practical ways. He studied medicine so that he might know how to cure the sick. Every day he distributed alms to the poor. He built an orphanage for children. Let us imitate the charity of Saint Martin that God may bless us as He blessed him.


O Saint Martin, teach us to be generous with the gifts that God has given us. Make us sympathetic towards those who are suffering and afflicted. Pray to Our Redeemer and to Our Lady of Mercy that our hearts may not be hardened by sin and selfishness, but that we may always be kind and generous to our neighbors because they are the children of Our Heavenly Father. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to 

Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 4

Fourth Day – Saint Martin’s Faith

Saint Martin had a lively faith in all the teachings of the Catholic Church because he knew that it was founded by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived. God rewarded Saint Martin’s humble faith by enlightening his mind so that he could understand the mysteries of our Holy Religion. May God give us the grace always to believe the truths which He has revealed.


O Saint Martin, we need strong faith in God and His Holy Church, especially in these days when so many people have turned against religion. Bring to a knowledge and love of the true Church all non-Catholics that they may find the way to salvation and happiness. Ask Christ and Our Lady of Good Counsel to make us faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ in life and death. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to praying the Rosary.

Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 5

Fifth Day – Saint Martin’s Confidence in God

Saint Martin firmly relied on the goodness and promises of God. He hoped, through the grace of God and the merits of Jesus Christ, one day to obtain an eternal reward. We know that Saint Martin’s trust in God was not in vain. We, too, are confident that God will forgive us our sins if we are truly sorry and that He will give us everlasting life if we serve Him faithfully by obeying His commandments.


O Saint Martin, help us to have a great confidence in Almighty God. Make us understand that He is One Friend Who will never desert us as long as we are true to Him. Keep us from foolishly presuming that we will be saved without cooperating with Grace, but keep us also from despair, which forgets the mercy of God. Ask the Child Jesus and His dear Mother to increase in our hearts faith, hope, and charity. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to praying the Rosary.

Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 6

Sixth Day – Saint Martin’s Devotion to Prayer

Saint Martin kept his mind and heart always lifted up to the Creator of all things. His prayer came from the depths of his soul. It did not come just from his lips. He turned to God to adore Him, to thank Him, and to ask Him for help. Saint Martin prayed with humility and perseverance, and God was pleased to answer his prayers in miraculous ways. He will pray for us before the Throne of God in Heaven.


O Saint Martin, help us to realize that Christ really meant what He said when He promised “Ask, and it shall be given to you: seek, and you shall find.” Make us faithful in attending Holy Mass and other devotions held in church. Remind us to say our daily prayers to obtain the blessing of God. Ask the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary to give a share in the treasures of the Holy Rosary. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to praying the Rosary.

Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 7

Seventh Day – Saint Martin’s Spirit of Penance

Saint Martin was a brave man. He was not afraid of hard work. He did not weakly seek for comforts as we so often do. Even though he labored so hard, he was glad to do severe penances for his sins and for the salvation of souls. If so holy a man did penances, how much more should we, who have seriously offended Almighty God by our sinfulness!


O Saint Martin, from you we learn how to be courageous and valiant. From your life we learn to avoid idleness and self-seeking. Give us some of that spirit of penance which you had, so that we may be brave in the struggle with temptations. Ask Jesus Crucified and Mary, the Queen of Martyrs, to give us the grace to fight the good fight for victory. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to praying the Rosary.

Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 8

Eighth Day – Saint Martin’s Reward

Saint Martin died a holy and peaceful death. He had spent his life in doing good as a humble Brother of the Dominican Order. But he that humbles himself shall be exalted. Soon his heroic life became known all over the world, and on May 6, 1962, Pope John XXIII solemnly declared Martin de Porres a Saint of God.


O Saint Martin, you have been raised up by Almighty God to show us the way to our true home. You have given us the good example and the encouragement that we need. We now realize from your life that all we have to do to win the reward of glory is to love and serve the Merciful God. May we ever be humble that we, too, may be exalted unto everlasting life. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to praying the Rosary.

Novena to St. Martin de Porres: Day 9

Ninth Day – Saint Martin’s Miracles

Saint Martin performed many miracles during his life and after his holy death. We can go to him with confidence for he will grant our petitions if they are for the good of our souls. His heart is very big, and he loves to help mankind in every way. We have only to tell him our troubles and to ask him to help us. If we do our part, we can be sure that our dear friend, Saint Martin, will do his.


O Lord Jesus Christ, Who inflamed the heart of Saint Martin with an ardent love of the poor and Who taught him the wonderful joy of true humility and the wisdom of always submitting to God’s Holy Will, grant that, like him, we may be ever truly humble of heart and full of Christlike charity for suffering humanity. We thank You for having raised Blessed Martin to the High Dignity of Sainthood that, by imitating the holy life and enjoying the powerful help of this great saint, the whole world may be drawn nearer to You, the Savior of the human race, Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.

Now recite one decade of the Most Holy Rosary. Need help pray the Rosary? Here is a guide to praying the Rosary.

St. Martin de Porres Biography and Novena Footnotes:

[1] Craughwell, Thomas J., "Patron Saints for Modern Challenges," Franciscan Media, 9/1/2016.
[2] "St. Martin de Porres," Encyclopedia of World Biography.
[3] "St. Martin de Porres, the first Black saint in the Americas," African American Registry, Retrieved April 22, 2020.
[4] "Life of St. Martin de Porres," St. Martin Apostolate, Retrieved October 26, 2020.
[5] Granger, Fr. Arthur M. (OP), Vie du Bienheureux Martin de Porrès, St. Hyacinthe: Dominican Press, 1941.
[6] "St. Martin de Porres," American Catholic, April 27, 2015.

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