Above: Five Saints: Francis Solano, Turibius of Mogrovejo, Juan Macius, Rose of Lima, and Martin de Porres
Image in the Public Domain
SAINT MARTIN DE PORRES (DECEMBER 9, 1579-NOVEMBER 3, 1639)
Humanitarian and Dominican Lay Brother
His feast transferred from November 3
SAINT JUAN MACIAS (MARCH 2, 1585-SEPTEMBER 18, 1645)
Humanitarian and Dominican Lay Brother
His feast transferred from September 18
SAINT ROSE OF LIMA (APRIL 20, 1586-AUGUST 25, 1617)
Humanitarian and Dominican Sister
Alternative feast day = August 30
SAINT TURIBIUS OF MOGROVEJO (NOVEMBER 16, 1538-MARCH 23, 1606)
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lima
His feast transferred from March 23
The Episcopal Church commemorates the lives of St. Martin de Porres, St. Rose of Lima, and St. Turibius of Mogrovejo on August 23. This makes sense, for St. Turibius, as Archbishop of Lima, confirmed the first two saints, who were both friends and Dominicans in Lima, Peru. He also had jurisdiction over St. Francis Solano (1549-1610), the “Apostle of America.” To this post I add St. Juan Macias, also a Dominican and a friend of St. Martin. St. Turibius confirmed St. Juan also.
SAINT TURIBIUS OF MOGROVEJO
St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, born at Mayorga, Spain, on November 16, 1538, came from a noble family. Turibius Alfonso Mogrovejo bore his first name because his parents had named him for St. Turibius of Astorga (died in 460), archdeacon of Tui, Bishop of Astorga, and defender of Christianity against Priscillianism, a Gnostic-Manichean heresy. Our saint became a law professor at the University of Salamanca. His renown, based on his virtue and his erudition, spread widely. King Philip II appointed him the Grand Inquisitor at Granada. In 1578 St. Turibius became a priest. In May of the following year his appointment as Archbishop of Lima cleared the Vatican. The consecration occurred in August 1580, and he arrived in Peru the following year.
St. Turibius was a hard-working archbishop. During the 25 years of his tenure he traveled his vast diocese repeatedly, making himself vulnerable to bad weather and dangerous men alike. He also confirmed about a million people, ordered the translation of the catechism into the major two Incan languages, mastered those tongues, and required that his priests likewise be fluent in them. St. Turibius also defended the poor as well as indigenous people against abuses by Spanish authorities. Furthermore, he founded the first Roman Catholic seminary in the Americas (in 1591) and was responsible for the construction of roads, school buildings, chapels, hospitals, and convents.
St. Turibius liked to say,
Time is not our own, and we must give a strict account of it.
He used much of the time available to him well. That time ended near Lima on March 3, 1606, after he had come down with a fever. He as 67 years old. Pope Innocent XI beatified our saint in 1697. Pope Benedict XIII canonized St. Turibuis in 1726. Our saint’s feast day in the Roman Catholic Church, formerly April 27, has moved to March 23.
St. Turibius is the patron saint of Peru, Latin American bishops, and the rights of indigenous people.
SAINT MARTIN DE PORRES
St. Martin de Porres had to contend with two great challenges throughout his life. Martin de Porres Velazquez, born at at Lima, on December 9, 1579, was the son of Don Juan de Porres (a Spanish gentleman) and Ana (a former Panamanian slave of African descent). Our saint was allegedly illegitimate, a label I reject, for nobody is an illegitimate person. (Besides, to blame someone for the circumstances of his or her birth, over which he or she has no control, is wrong.) St. Martin’s father initially refused to recognize our saint as his son or to support the family, so St. Martin, his mother, and (in time) his younger sister Agnes lived in poverty for years. When our saint was seven years old, however, Don Juan recognized him, gave him his surname, and began to support the family financially.
St. Martin had little formal education. When he was young his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon, so he learned those skills well.
St. Martin’s destiny was in a priory, however. The law forbade him, as a person of African (as well as mixed-race) ancestry, to enter a religious order. At age 15 he became a volunteer at Holy Rosary Priory, Lima, living there, wearing a habit, and, in time, distributing money to the poor. In 1603, at age 24, he became a Dominican lay brother anyway. Perhaps his father made some arrangements. The prior definitely ignored the law. Although the prior favored St. Martin, many of the other Dominicans at the priory did not, acting out of racism and mocking him for his alleged illegitimacy. Our saint handled these difficulties graciously.
St. Martin’s medical training became useful when, in 1613, he became the lay brother in charge of the infirmary. He, who retained that duty for the rest of his life, cared for the poor and the rich alike.
St. Martin earned a reputation for holiness, patience, and humility. He lived simply, did not eat meat, fasted frequently, maintained a devotion to the Holy Eucharist, established a shelter for stray cats and dogs, founded an orphanage, and raised dowries for young women. As if his believable good works were not enough, he also allegedly flew, passed through closed doors, had miraculous knowledge, teleported groups of monks, and had the ability to be in two places simultaneously.
St. Martin died of natural causes at Lima on November 3, 1639. He was 59 years old. The royal viceroy, a judge of the royal court, and two bishops served as his pallbearers. Pope Gregory XVI beatified him in 1837. Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1962, making him the first saint of African descent in the Americas.
St. Martin is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, and public health workers, among others.
SAINT ROSE OF LIMA
Among the friends of St. Martin de Porres was St. Rose of Lima. Our saint, born Isabel Flores de Olivia, came from a wealthy colonial family in Lima. St. Turibius confirmed her in 1597. On that occasion she took the name Rose, which had been her nickname since early childhood. The family’s Incan maid had said that our saint was as lovely as a rose.
St. Rose’s destiny was monastic life, despite her parents’ desire to marry her off. She chose to live in a grotto on the family property. Eventually her family approved of her vocation. When the family’s finances collapsed, she supported her relatives by embroidering, gardening, and selling flowers. And, with her parents’ approval, she transformed a room in their house into a clinic. St. Rose, who devoted her life to reverence, prayer, and asceticism (including the mortification of the flesh), entered the Third Order of St. Dominic at age 20. She took St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) as her model with regard to the spiritual life. Our saint worked among the poorest of the poor, laboring as a Dominican sister until she died at Lima on August 25, 1617, aged 31 years. Pope Clement IX beatified St. Rose of Lima in 1667. Pope Clement X canonized her four years later, making her the first saint in the New World.
St. Rose is the patron saint of Peru, Latin America, embroiderers, gardeners, florists, people with family problems, and people who suffer ridicule for their faith, among other causes.
SAINT JUAN MACIAS
Another friend of St. Martin of Porres and helper of the poor of Lima was St. Juan Macias. Our saint, born Juan de Arcas y Sanchez, at Ribero del Fresno, Extremadura, Spain, on March 2, 1585, came from a noble family. His parents were Pedro de Arcas and Juana Sanchez, and his sister was Agnes. Pedro and Juana died when our saint was two years old. An uncle surnamed Macias, raised the children and trained St. Juan to become a shepherd. As a shepherd our saint began to pray to rosary.
St. Juan was a natural contemplative who preferred solitude. However, solitude was rare for him. He had begun to consider becoming a Dominican after meeting a Dominican friar at age 16. In 1610, at age 25, our saint went to work for a wealthy businessman, who sent him to the New World. Eventually St. Juan made his way to Lima, where he remained for the rest of his life. In January 1622 he entered the Dominican Priory of St. Mary Magdalene as a lay brother. A year later he made his final vows. Our saint spent most of the rest of his life working as the assistant porter, living in the gatehouse, counseling the rich and poor alike, preferring the poor, feeding 200 people daily, raising funds to care for the impoverished, teaching the catechism to the poor, and praying.
St. Juan died of natural causes at Lima on September 18, 1645. He was 60 years old. Pope Gregory XVI beatified him in 1837. Pope Paul VI canonized him in 1975.
How blessed are you who are poor:
the kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are hungry now:
you shall have your fill.
Blessed are you who are weeping now:
you shall laugh.
–Luke 6:20b-21, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)
These four saints worked as agents of grace toward those four goals.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MAY 8, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C
THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT II, BISHOP OF ROME
THE FEAST OF DAME JULIAN OF NORWICH, SPIRITUAL WRITER
THE FEAST OF SAINT MAGDALENA OF CANOSSA, FOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY AND THE SONS OF CHARITY
THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER OF TARENTAISE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP
Merciful God, you sent your Gospel to the people of Peru
through Martin de Porres, who brought his comfort even to slaves;
through Rose of Lima and Juan Macias, who worked among the poorest of the poor;
and through Turibius of Mogrovejo, who founded the first seminary in the Americas and baptized many:
Help us to follow their example in bringing fearlessly the comfort of your grace
to all downtrodden and outcast people, that your Church may be renewed
with songs of salvation and praise; through Jesus Christ, who with you
and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 7:32-36
James 2:1-8, 14-17
–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 537