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Saint Peter Claver


Peter Claver, a native of Spain, after he had entered the Society of Jesus, was inspired by Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez to work for souls in the New World. Where later, at the port of Cartagena, he was overcome with sorrow and anger at the sight of the indescribable sufferings of the negro slaves who were imported there from Africa by the thousands. Whereupon he began to minister to them, and declared himself to be their slave forever. Which thing he became, in marvellous tenderness, patience, and perseverance, for over forty years of prodigious ministry, both in nursing their bodies and nurturing their souls.

And he stirred up others to do the same work, until at last, many years after his time, the wicked traffic in kidnapping them was forbidden, and all the slaves were set free. Because of the mistreatment they suffered, diseases were ever rife among them, and Peter finally fell sick of an epidemic which spread among them, and from this illness he never fully recovered. So that the last four years of his life on earth were full of suffering, not least of which was a strange neglect from his own brethren.

On September 8th, 1654, he went to God, after having baptized multitudes of them; whom, as far as he could, he had watched over during the rest of their lives, either by seeing them himself or by sending others to them. In 1888 he was canonized, and in 1896 he was declared to be the heavenly Patron of all missionaries to negroes through the whole world.


O GOD, who to call many negroes in slavery to the knowledge of thy Name didst endue blessed Peter with wondrous love and patience in their service: grant, by his intercession; that we may seek the things of Jesus Christ, and shew forth charity toward our neighbours both in deed and in truth. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1891-1892

Additional Information:

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