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St. Martin de Porres

Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

The following reflection is part of an ongoing series about the life of St. Dominic & the Order of Friars Preachers.

Known as the “Apostle of Charity,” Martin de Porres (1579 – 1639) was born in Lima, Peru, the son of a slave. While a young man, he was accepted as a cooperator brother at the Dominican priory in Lima and spent his life there as a barber, farm laborer, and the like. Helping in the infirmary, Martin learned the art of medicine and spent long hours with the sick and dying, particularly slaves and the poor, giving rise to many stories about his closeness to God and the miracles attributed to his intercession, primarily his gift of healing. Here he is shown healing a sick child whose worried mother looks on. Daily he fed nearly two hundred people, and weekly he disbursed hundreds of dollars worth of food, clothing, and other necessities of life among Indians, Africans, and Spaniards. Martin is the patron saint of work for interracial justice and harmony.

Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (a member of the English Province) was invited by the Dominican Foundation to take pictures of some of the locations where our friars serve throughout the Northeast. During his time in Washington, D.C., Fr. Lew photographed the interior of the Church of St. Dominic. St. Dominic’s has been the church where our friars are ordained to the priesthood each May. Surrounding the church, is a collection of beautiful stained glass windows that chronicle the life of St. Dominic & the foundation of the Order of Preachers. Fr. Lew accomplished a great work by capturing the splendor of these windows, and in the process, the life of a towering saint.

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