Martin de Porres, Jordan Hainsey, Digital Photograph, 2010

Martin de Porres

Martin was born into poverty. He was the son of a freed woman of Panama, and a Spanish grandee of Lima, Peru. His parents never married each other. He took on the features and dark complexion of his mother—a trait that took his father eight years to come to terms with. Later, after the birth of his sister, Martin's father abandoned the family. 

Martin's mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon, where he learned how to cut hair, draw blood, care for wounds, and administer medicines. At the age of 15, Martin became a lay brother at the Dominican Priory in Lima, Peru. His days were filled with nursing the sick and caring for the poor. His nights were devoted to prayer and acts of penance. He treated all people regardless of color, race, or status. He was instrumental in founding an orphanage, taking care of slaves brought from Africa, and managing the daily alms of the priory. 

Side by side with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, Martin’s life reflected God. He experienced ecstasies where he floated in mid-air, bilocation, and instantaneous cures.


  • The Senator John Heinz History Center, in conjunction with Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art, 2010, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 3rd Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Exhibition, 2010, The Saint Vincent Gallery, Latrobe, PA



  • Martin de Porres Center, Columbus, OH
  • The Saint Vincent Gallery, Latrobe, PA


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