Litany of St. Martin de Porres

(Feast Day - November 3)

Biography as Spirituality (Lumen Gentium, par. 39):

Martin was born in Lima, Peru on Dec. 9, 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a young, freed Black slave from Panama. Along with one sister he grew up in poverty. At age 12 his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon. He learned how to cut hair, draw blood, care for wounds and administer medicines. He was taken in by the Dominicans as a "lay helper" at the age of 15. Recognizing his piety and medical skills the Order dropped its racial policy and admitted him as a Dominican brother at the age of 24. As he matured he was given responsibility for the Infirmary. He remained faithful to that service until his death at the age of 60. His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was legendary. While praying in front of it one night the step of the altar where he was kneeling caught fire. Oblivious to the chaos around him he remained there. He established an orphanage and a children's hospital while maintaining an austere lifestyle of intense prayer and fasting. One day an aged beggar, covered with ulcers and almost naked, stretched out his hand. Martin, seeing the Divine Presence in him, took him to his own bed, paying no heed to the fact that he was unkempt and dirty. One of the Dominicans, thinking he had gone too far in his charity, reprimanded him. Saint Martin replied: "Compassion is preferable to cleanliness. Reflect that with a little soap I can easily clean my bed covers, but even with a torrent of tears I would never wash from my soul the stain that my harshness toward the unfortunate would create." He always wanted to be a missionary, but never left his native city. Yet, even during his lifetime he was seen elsewhere in distant places as far as Africa, Algeria and China. An African slave who had been in irons said he had known Martin when he came to console many like himself, telling them of heaven. When later that same slave saw him in Peru, he was happy to meet him again and asked if he had had a good voyage; only later did he learn that Martin had never left the city of Lima. He died Nov. 3, 1639 and was known as a saint by the entire city. His body was exhumed 25 years later and found intact. Pope Gregory XVI beatified him in 1836 and Pope John XXIII canonized him to sainthood in 1962.


God of the poor-----------------------------------------------------Lord, have mercy on us.
God of beggars-----------------------------------------------------Christ, have mercy on us.
God of healers------------------------------------------------------Lord, have mercy on us.

Martin de Porres, born illegitimate and humble------------------be a river of blessings.
Martin de Porres, economically poor and spiritually rich-------be a river of blessings.
Martin de Porres, obedient Brother and a model of charity----be a river of blessings.
Martin de Porres, man of prayer and a care giver to the sick--be a river of blessings.
Martin de Porres, infirmarian and a worker of miracles-------be a river of blessings.

St. Martin, friend of St. Rose of Lima--------------------------------------pray for us.
St. Martin, faithful lay Brother----------------------------------------------pray for us.
St. Martin, font of comfort---------------------------------------------------pray for us.
St. Martin, intercessor for black and mixed-race people---------------pray for us.
St. Martin, patron saint of Biloxi, Mississippi---------------------------pray for us.

Let us pray,
God of all nations and races, in St. Martin de Porres, you gave life to a Mulatto and endowed him with divine gifts for tending the poor and healing the sick. His heart, full of humility and charity, converted souls and gave hope to the dying. His willingness to beg for alms resulted in Providence always supplying what he needed. We ask his intercession today for those deprived of human dignity and adequate health care. We beg his continued blessings upon St. Martin's Ministries that the poor may be clothed, the homeless cared for and the hungry fed. May these virtues, visible on the faces and in the hearts of those who serve the poor, honor the legacy of St. Martin's charity and give you Glory, through your son Jesus Christ, lover of the poor. Amen.

This litany is dedicated for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of St. Martin's Ministries in Ridgely, MD. Owned and operated by the Benedictine Sisters it is an oasis of help, hope and healing for the poor and needy in the rural Eastern Shore.

Composed by: Rev. Paul G. Mast
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