5th November - "That the truth is stranger than fiction is verified in the life of this holy man who was born on 9th December, 1579, and died on 3rd November, 1639.
He was the son of Don Juan de Porres, a Spanish adventurer and nobleman, and Ann Velasquez, a freed Negro woman of Panama.
Martin's father arranged for some sort of schooling and then had him apprenticed to a barber-surgeon from whom he learned the rudiments of medical practice. This elementary study of the healing arts enabled him to set bones, dress wounds, give doses for the cure of fever and be the good Samaritan for years in Lima, Peru.
Wishing to dedicate himself entirely and freely to the service of others, he became a Tertiary of the Dominican Order. Whilst never a professed religious, he lived as a Third Order member of their convent at Lima, and from it as headquarters went forth to a daily life of utter self-sacrifice for the needy.
The stories of his marvels of healing and the countless works of wonder that he did remind one of the early days of Christianity. Incredible though they sound, they are attested to by reliable witnesses and account, in some way, for the constant devotion to him in South America and the more recent cult to him in North America.
All the works of mercy found him their ready minister. Such practical acts of kindness as getting marriage dowries for young girls and establishing orphanages and shelter for bereaved children were part of his beneficent programme.
His father, who in time, became Governor of Panama never aided him but, in fact, attempted to prevent his ambition to lead the religious life.
Behind these self-effacing and charitable enterprises was a life of profound prayer, furthered by heroic penances".