St. Peter Claver, Patron of the Negro Mission

The local Roman Catholic church in one of the cities where I grew up was named for St. Peter Claver. He’s worth knowing, an amazing missionary saint who really invested himself in the lives and faith journey of the marginalized people he loved and served: slaves.

(Sidebar: Haven’t posted much lately due to difficulties getting WordPress to work well on my tablet)

The Holy Ones

St. Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580, of impoverished parents descended from ancient and distinguished families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona, entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602 and took his final vows on August 8th, 1604. While studying philosophy at Majorca, the young religious was influenced by St. Alphonsus Rodriguez to go to the Indies and save “millions of perishing souls.”

In 1610, he landed at Cartagena (modern Colombia), the principle slave market of the New World, where a thousandslaves were landed every month. After his ordination in 1616, he dedicated himself by special vow to the service of the Negro slaves-a work that was to last for thirty-three years. He labored unceasingly for the salvation of the Africanslaves and the abolition of the Negro slave trade, and the love he lavished on them was something that transcended the natural order.

Boarding the slave ships as they entered the harbor, he would hurry to the revolting inferno…

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