St Martin de Porres was a lay brother of the Dominican Order. He was born in Peru, South America to biracial parents in 1579. He endured a great deal of racism but with his strong faith he was able to rise above this with joy and compassion. When he was young he was sent to work for a barber/surgeon and learnt how to cut hair as well gaining medical skills.

Due to his race he was not allowed to become a full member of a religious order so he asked to be accepted as a volunteer. He performed menial tasks which included cooking and cleaning for the Dominican Order in Lima. He was service focused and was known for his unconditional care for all people regardless of their status. He founded an orphanage and a hospital and was eventually granted permission to take his vows and become a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic even though it was still against the law.

Fast Facts

  • Beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI
  • Canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII
  • Patron: of Mixed Race, Barbers, Public Health Workers, Innkeepers, and those seeking racial harmony
  • Feast Day Nov 3
St Martin de Porres Painted by SMT

The Witness of St Martin de Porres

St Martin de Porres was a faith-filled healer of biracial heritage who rose above racism to be a model of compassion, perseverance and unconditional love. His life is a strong inspirational model for us all.


St Martin de Porres’ knowledge of medicine and spiritual wisdom inspires us to grow and persevere to achieve our personal best. 


St Martin de Porres’ deep love and respect for human dignity inspires us to be compassionate and authentically connect with those who may be different from us. 


St Martin de Porres’ life of service, healing and generosity calls us to be empathetic and active citizens to help bring justice and equity for all.