Saint Martin de Porres, OP

Patron of Public Health Workers

Saint Martin de Porres was born in the city of Lima on December 9, 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a black former slave. Along with Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Martin de Porres was baptized and confirmed by Saint Turibius of Mongrovejo, the Archbishop of Lima.

Martin grew up in poverty and, at some point, was placed with a barber/surgeon to learn the medical arts. Though he was only ten years old, this gave him great joy.

From an early age, Martin spent each night in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, a practice which increased rather than diminished as he grew older.

At the age of 15 Martin asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima. He was received first as a servant boy; and, as his duties grew he was promoted to almoner. Eventually he felt the call to enter the Dominican Order, and he was received as a tertiary. Years later, his piety and miraculous cures led his superiors to drop the racial limits on admission to the friars, and he was made a full Dominican Brother.

When he was 24, after he had been given the habit of a Cooperator Brother, Martin was assigned to the priory.

Martin was a friend of both Saint John de Massias and Saint Rose of Lima. When he died in Lima on November 3, 1639, Martin was known to the entire city. Word of his miracles had made him known as a saint throughout the region. As his body was displayed to allow the people of the city to pay their respects, each person snipped a tiny piece of his habit to keep as a relic. It is said that three habits were taken from the body. His body was then interred in the grounds of the monastery.

After he died, the miracles and graces received when he was invoked multiplied in such profusion that his body was exhumed after 25 years and said to be found intact, and exhaling a fine fragrance.

Letters to Rome pleaded for his beatification; the decree affirming the heroism of his virtues was issued in 1763 by Pope Clement XIII. Pope Gregory XVI beatified Martin de Porres in the year 1837. Nearly one hundred and twenty five years later Blessed Martin was canonized in Rome by Pope John XXIII on May 6, 1962.

His feast day is November 3. He is the Patron Saint of people of mixed race, innkeepers, barbers, public health and more besides.

Novena to Saint Martin de Porres, OP

SAINT MARTIN, your concern and charity embraced not only your needy brethren, but also the animals of the field. You are a splendid example of charity; we thank and praise you. From above, hear the requests of your needy brethren.

(Mention your request here)

By modeling our lives after yours, and imitating your virtues, may we live content knowing that God has looked favorably upon us. Because this is so, we can accept our burdens with strength and courage in order to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and the Blessed Mother.

May we reach the Kingdom of Heaven through the intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Dear SAINT MARTIN you were always the tireless servant of the sick. During your lifetime and from your place in Heaven God worked many miracles through your prayers. Look with com-passion on…

(Name of sick person)

… suffering now from sickness. Ask the Lord to touch him/her with his healing hand. Help us all to use with wisdom and with a thankful heart the health and strength God gives to us so that, following your example, our whole lives may be a song of thanksgiving and praise to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

SAINT MARTIN, pray for us and for all who are sick.

SAINT MARTIN, intercede for all who lovingly tend the sick and give them comfort, care and support in their hour of need.


We turn to you SAINT MARTIN, in our present difficulties. You were always a lover of the Prince of Peace and the builder of peace. We recall how you spared no effort to preserve harmony in your sister’s family and among your Dominican brothers. Obtain for us that we may help one another and be ever ready to forgive as we hope to be forgiven. Ask God to give us the wisdom and generosity to make allowances for others. Help us never to say or do anything that would injure the peace of our family but to do all we can to create and preserve an atmosphere of trust, reverence and love. We ask you to present our intentions to Christ Our Lord.