Almost eight hundred years ago, in December of 1216, the birth of a new religious order also took place. Father Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest, petitioned Pope Honorius II successfully for a new religious order, which would come to be called the Order of Preachers. To celebrate this anniversary and Black History Month, there is an exhibit in the library honoring a black Peruvian Dominican who became a saint: Saint Martin de Porres. Who was Saint Martin?
Martin de Porres Velázquez, O.P. (December 9, 1579 – November 3, 1639), was a lay brother of the Dominican Order who was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony.
Born in the city of Lima, he was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Don Juan de Porres, and Ana Velázquez, a freed slave from Panama. He had a sister named Juana, born two years later in 1581 and after the birth of his sister, the father abandoned the family. Ana Velázquez supported her children by taking in laundry. He grew up in poverty and, when his mother could not support him, Martin was confided to a primary school for two years, and then placed with a barber/surgeon to learn the medical arts. He spent hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased as he grew older.
By law in Peru, descendants of Africans and Indians were barred from becoming full members of religious orders. The only route open to Martin was to ask the Dominicans of Holy Rosary Priory in Lima to accept him as a “donado”, a volunteer who performed menial tasks in the monastery in return for the privilege of wearing the habit and living with the religious community. At the age of 15 he asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received first as a servant boy, and as his duties grew he was promoted to almoner.
Martin continued to practice his old trades of barbering and healing and was said to have performed many miraculous cures. He also took on kitchen work, laundry, and cleaning. After eight years at Holy Rosary, the prior Juan de Lorenzana, decided to turn a blind eye to the law and permit Martin to take his vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. Holy Rosary was home to 300 men, not all of whom were as open-minded as De Lorenzana; one of the novices called Martin a “mulatto dog,” while one of the priests mocked him for being illegitimate and descended from slaves. He never became a priest. It is said that when his convent was in debt, he implored them: “I am only a poor mulatto, sell me.”
When Martin was 34, after he had been given the religious habit of a lay brother, he was assigned to the infirmary, where he was placed in charge and would remain in service until his death at the age of 59. He was known for his care of the sick. His superiors saw in him the virtues necessary to exercise unfailing patience in this difficult role. It was not long before miracles were attributed to him. Martin also cared for the sick outside his convent, often bringing them healing with only a simple glass of water. He ministered without distinction to Spanish nobles and to slaves recently brought from Africa.
Martin did not eat meat. He begged for alms to procure necessities the convent could not provide. In normal times, Martin succeeded with his alms to feed 160 poor persons every day, and distributed a remarkable sum of money every week to the indigent. Side by side with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, Martin’s life is said to have reflected 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. He founded a residence for orphans and abandoned children in the city of Lima.
Martin de Porres is often depicted as a young mulatto friar wearing the old habit of the Dominican lay brother, a black scapular and capuce, along with a broom, since he considered all work to be sacred no matter how menial. He is sometimes shown with a dog, a cat and a mouse eating in peace from the same dish. The statue of him in front of Martin Hall was sculpted by a Dominican Friar, Father Thomas McGlynn, who taught briefly at Providence College.
Almost eight hundred years ago, in December of 1216, the birth of a new religious order also took place. Father... MORE
Beginning Friday, December 11 through Friday, December 18,
the library will be OPEN around the clock for your convenience.
Library staff will be available to assist you with any last minute research needs or just a friendly chat.
Don’t forget to be on the lookout for our
FREE Roaming Snack Cart from December 15 through 17,
courtesy of the library staff.
Beginning Friday, December 11 through Friday, December 18, the library will be OPEN around the clock for your convenience. Library... MORE
Did your quest for that perfect article ever lead you to microfilm?
NY Times from 1852? Got it! Newsweek 1942? We can show you were to find that too!
PML has an extensive collection of microfilm! But once you’ve found the microfilm, how do you view it?
Use ClubPhil’s ScanPro 3000!!
This microfilm reader scans as well as prints! You can email or save to a USB device primary source material to view later. Need to highlight an area to see that text a little better? This machine is for you! With advanced editing features, previously obscured text becomes visible. The ScanPro 3000 brings the latest technologies to microfilm research.
Stop by ClubPhil we will show you how to use the ScanPro 3000!
Did your quest for that perfect article ever lead you to microfilm? NY Times from 1852? Got it! Newsweek 1942? ... MORE
Plan a visit to the Phillips Memorial Library. The Men’s 2015 Hockey Championship display has been dismantled and replaced with an awesome exhibit highlighting the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, the supreme law of the land in the United States.
Discover some fascinating facts about The Virginia Plan, The New Jersey Plan and the Great Compromise. Imagine yourself as William Paterson or James Madison drafting proposals to revise the Articles of Confederation.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about these historic documents because the exhibit closes September 30, 2015.
Don’t leave just yet!! Welcome class of 2019!! Let your feet guide you to the display cases around the “pit” and view photographs of previous freshmen classes, programs, flyers and an original beanie from 1967. The memorabilia was provided by the Providence College Special and Archival Collections.
Last but not least, please take a moment to learn of the munificence of Mr. Arthur Ryan ’63 and his wife, Patricia Ryan. We honor Mr. Ryan, a member of the Board of Trustees (1995-2011), businessman and philanthropist, with the creation of this display, which speaks volumes of his generosity and love for Providence College. For example, Mr. and Mrs. Ryan established the Arthur F. Ryan Family Scholarship Fund, pledged $1 million dollars to the construction of the Ryan Concert and Lecture Hall in the Smith Center for the Arts and a $5 million dollar donation towards the renovation of Dore Hall for the new School of Business.
“If you’re a student going to the Ryan Center every day, you’re going to know who Mr. Ryan is,” said Father Shanley. “We’re saying, in a subtle way, aspire high. You can become one of the top business people in the country.”
Plan a visit to the Phillips Memorial Library. The Men’s 2015 Hockey Championship display has been dismantled and replaced with... MORE