Wednesday, March 12, 2014


St. Martin performed many miracles during his life and after his holy death. We can go to him with confidence for he will obtain our petitions if they are for our true welfare. His great heart loves to help us in every way. We have only to tell him our troubles and to ask him to help us. If we do our part, we can be sure that our friend St Martin will do his part.
I finally found my book, and I'm a bit glad that I lost it because while I was looking around, it occurred to me that I didn't want to start with the first day, but the last. I want to write about St. Martin's miracles first, because I will be referring to them in the future.

Unlike St. Josephine Bahkita about whom I wrote earlier, and despite his attempts to keep it a secret, where miracles were concerned Martin's story has all the bells and whistles. His most well-known miracles took place in the context of his job as infirmarian. He worked many miracles of healing, although he tried to mask the fact by always providing some medicine or treatment to which he gave credit. Nothing kept him from the patients who he knew needed him. If the door was locked, he went through anyway. He always knew which patients would get well, and which ones would die. If Martin didn't visit you when you were sick, it was a good sign. It was because he knew you would get well. He was even known to raise the dead. 

He had no theological training, but he had infused knowledge. He was known to explain complicated theological concepts to the students. He could communicate with animals. He could bi-locate. He was frequently seen levitating. He physically fought with demons. He predicted the day of his own death.

The novena prayer says that Martin "performed many miracles during his life and after his holy death." As Martin's body was lying in state, thousands of people paraded by. They brought the sick and some were healed. Two days after his death, Martin appeared to one of his brothers at the monastery who lay dying of the same fever that had felled Martin, and the brother was healed, as were many others. 

There was testimony given of miracles of healing at the original investigation of his life about 20 years after his death. There were also many miracles attributed to him around the time of his canonization in the 1950s and 60s. I read about one in the letters of Caryll Houselander. I used to have that book at home for months at a time because I could check it out of the seminary library and not have to pay fines because I worked there. One of the few drawbacks to not working there is that I can't get a hold of it anymore, and so I'll have to just relate what I can remember reading a couple of years ago. Miss Houselander had a friend who had some very serious illness, and who had been sent an envelope with dust from St. Martin's grave. She put it in some water and drank it. I think she was rather embarrassed about doing this at the time, but her case was desperate, and so she gave it a try, and she was healed. She wasn't the first to be healed by the dirt from the saint's grave.

In 1664, about 5 years after Martin died, his body was moved from a crypt under the chapter room of the monastery to a more public area where people could come to venerate his remains. At that time, a man named John Criollo had been suffering from a persistent fever. One of the brothers who had helped to move the body gave Criollo some of the dirt from the grave in water to drink and a couple of days later, the doctor pronounced him cured. It's a wonder they could keep the man buried at all.

As marvelous as all these miracles are, I'm sure that they are not what Martin would have wanted to be remembered for. I doubt if he would have wanted to be remembered at all. His whole life was directed towards his Lord, and I'm sure that he would have us look beyond the miracles and the instrument whom the Lord used to the mercy of Him Who granted these favors.
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The picture of the statue above was taken at the Shrine of St. Martin de Porres in Memphis, TN. The facts above were taken from Giuliana Cavallini's biography, Saint Martin de Porres, Apostle of Charity.
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The moon is currently waxing gibbous and 83% of full. As it is a lovely, clear night, I shall now go verify this with my own eyes.