St. Peter Claver


Feast Day - September 9

Peter Claver was born in Catalonia. As a young man, radiant with innocence, he entered the Society of Jesus. While he was studying philosophy, he was instructed by St. Alphonsus Rodriguez in the secrets of higher virtue. After his ordination to the priesthood at Cartagena in South America, he made a special vow to devote his whole life to the Negroes brought to that port by the vicious slave trade. It is beyond the power of words to describe the patience and charity with which he labored for more than forty years, taking care of the Negroes, feeding them, nursing them, imparting the teaching of Christ to them and baptizing them – labors made illustrious by God with the grace of healing.

After toiling all day long, he would spend his time far into the night at prayer and at harsh penances, of which it seemed he could never get enough. He had reached the age of seventy-one when, struck down by bodily infirmity, he was forced to lie ill in his cell for the next four years. Finally, on the birthday of the Mother of God, for whom he had had a most tender love, he made his journey to Heaven. Leo XIII enrolled him among the Saints and declared him the special heavenly patron of missionary enterprises among Negroes.

Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. III: August to Advent (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1506-1507.