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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Martin de Porres, 1639, Rosa de Lima, 1617, and Toribio de Mogrovejo, 1606, Witnesses to the Faith in South America.

Martin de Porres and Rosa de Lima were friends in Lima, Peru. They lived during a time in which the church was being introduced to South America, sometimes with disastrous consquences. As races and peoples found their paths colliding, great questions of racial identity and justice rose up. In this time, the church also offered some remarkable care for those in need.

Martin was born of mixed-race parents, and when his father saw that he had inherited his mother"s darker skin, the father left the family. After learning a trade, Martin began to work with Dominican brothers. Eventually, a rule forbidding persons with dark skin from joining the order was set aside, and Martin was admitted as a brother to carry on his work of caring for the poor.

Rosa was a friend of Martin"s. She had helped to support her family with sewing and gardening, but her desire to care for the poor led her to join the Dominicans as well. Her passion was to care for those in greatest need: slaves, native peoples, and those whom others neglected.

O God of justice, inspire us by the witness of Martin and Rosa to care for those in great need. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Merciful God, you sent your Gospel to the people of Peru through Martin de Porres, who brought its comfort even to slaves; through Rosa de Lima, who worked among the poorest of the poor; and through Toribio de 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.

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