We visited the Cathedral in Progreso (Merida), Mexico last week and our tour guide was extremely ignorant of what Catholics believe.
He said, “Catholic Christians say they are monotheistic, but they worship saints…” (This is fake news). We honor Christians who have a personal relationship with Jesus and who lived a life in Christ. Then he said that these particular Catholics worship Mary’s virgin sister (this is also not the case). My Wife thinks he mistakes Our Lady of Guadeloupe as being Mary’s sister, which is kind of funny.
I asked him why the statue of a particular Saint is holding a broom. He did not know, so I did a little research and this is what I found.
St. Martin de Porres’ father was a Spanish nobleman and his mother was a former Panamanian slave. He was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579. He is known as the first black Saint of the America’s.
As a young man he apprenticed under a barber, who in those days also practiced medicine. During this time, he joined the Dominican third order (as they would not let an individual of mixed race fully join the religious order until 1603).
Though he was not able to become a Dominican brother early on, they did allow him to do various chores in exchange for room and board. This earned Martin the nickname, ”the saint of the broom.”
After becoming a Dominican brother, he served in the order’s infirmary, helping the sick, where his skills of practicing medicine became very useful.
He once gave a poor Indian man he was treating for a knife-wound his bed, because the infirmary was full. When a superior reprimanded him for this, St. Martin replied, “Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precepts of obedience took precedence over that of charity.” The prior, thereafter, gave Martin liberty to practice mercy however the Spirit inspired him.
Martin also loved animals. He was known to treat wounded animals and he was a vegetarian (though I won’t hold this against him ; )
He is the patron Saint of racial harmony, barbers, nurses, innkeepers, and mothers of teenagers who desire them to keep their rooms clean (I added this last one ; )
St. Martin de Porres, Pray for us.