Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest known as the “saint of the slaves.”
He was ordained a priest in Cartagena, Colombia, in 1616 during a time when Cartagena was a huge slave trade center.
Infuriated at the treatment of his fellow man, Peter devoted himself to taking care of the slaves. He did so physically by feeding and giving them medicine. But he also did so spiritually, by teaching them about Christianity but more, by showing them Christ in himself.
Not only did he seek to help them, but he also worked right beside them on the plantations. In fact, it was in working with them that Peter was able to help them. He entered into their lives.
Once, someone I guess asked him how he could do all his work in such terrible places. His response: “I do have a strong stomach. If that makes a person a saint, then I guess I am one!”
Peter, like anyone faithful to his vocation, was a better man because he followed through with what he knew God was calling him to. He put it more humorously: “If it were not for this work, I would be a nuisance to myself and everyone else!”
St. Peter Claver: Pray for us!