St. Martin de Porres

st. martin de porres

St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639) was the illegitimate son of a freed woman of color of Panama, and a Spanish grandee of Lima, Peru. Martin inherited the features and dark complexion of his mother. That disappointed his father, who finally acknowledged his son after eight years. After the birth of a sister, the father abandoned the family. Martin was reared in poverty, locked into a low level of Lima’s society.

When he was 12, his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon. He learned how to cut hair and also how to draw blood (a standard medical treatment then), care for wounds and prepare and administer medicines.

After a few years in this medical apostolate, Martin applied to the Dominicans to be a "lay helper," not feeling himself worthy to be a religious brother. After nine years, the example of his prayer and penance, charity and humility led the community to request him to make full religious profession. Many of his nights were spent in prayer and penitential practices; his days were filled with nursing the sick and caring for the poor. It was particularly impressive that he treated all people regardless of their color, race or status. He was instrumental in founding an orphanage, took care of slaves brought from Africa and managed the daily alms of the priory with practicality as well as generosity. He became the procurator for both priory and city, whether it was a matter of "blankets, shirts, candles, candy, miracles or prayers.

Side by side with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, Martin’s life reflected God’s extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and a remarkable rapport with animals. His charity extended to beasts of the field and even to the vermin of the kitchen. He would excuse the raids of mice and rats on the grounds that they were underfed; he kept stray cats and dogs at his sister’s house.

He became a formidable fundraiser, obtaining thousands of dollars for dowries for poor girls so that they could marry or enter a convent.

Many of his fellow religious took him as their spiritual director and people from far away sought the counsel of this wise man of God.

st. martin de porresHistory of Our Statue

Father Thomas McGlynn, one of the Dominican Fathers who staffed St. Monica’s, had, as a young Friar, sculpted a remarkable statue of great merit of St. Martin in clay. Although his ministry in Raleigh (1947-1954) did not give him the scope to practice widely his artistic skills, he would, however, over the years, develop into a world-renowned sculptor.

The possibility of our Church’s obtaining a bronze casting from the mold of the 1930 Blessed Martin Statue was raised up by parishioner Daisy Foster as a fitting enhancement for the Church.

Our Parish has, thanks to Father Richard McAlister, curator of the McGlynn collection at Providence College, brokered a remarkable deal with the Foundry.  And the exquisite statue of St. Martin will remind all the faithful of our parish that the call to sanctity is universal. And Christ wants the members of this Church to build up one another in holiness. The call of Bishop Waters, when he established in 1968 this biracial parish from its inception, was for all the faithful here on Poole Road to be gathered as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people” (I Peter 2: 9)

Under the supervision of Father McAlister, Dominican professor of art at Providence, the work was carried out by a noted foundry in Rhode Island and was delivered in time for the Feast of St. Martin, on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

The pedestal for the St. Martin statue is of black marble, and the top of the shrine is of white carrara marble. Mr. Bill Stephany of our parish crafted the foundation for the statue with much devotion - using brick remaining from the church expansion project of 2007—2008.

The statue was dedicated on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 Feast of St. Martin de Porres:

Mass at 7:30p.m., with the Dedication of the new bronze statue of St. Martin made from the mold of the Thomas McGlynn clay statue of 1930. The Rev. Msgr. Thomas P Hadden, was the principal celebrant and the Very Rev. Bruce Schultz, O.P., gave the homily. Msgr. Williams, Fr. Bernard Shlesinger and several Dominican Fathers concelebrated the Mass. Sister Margaret Gallagher, I.H.M., and Sister Elizabeth Bullen, I.H.M., amongst the last sisters assigned to St. Monica’s Parish, were also present. Mrs. Daisy Foster, who spearheaded the project and inspired the fund-raising; and Mr. Bill Stephany, who constructed the pedestal were recognized for their efforts to obtain the statue for St. Joesph's.
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