The Two Patron Saints of Colombia the Focus of Holy Father's Visit

Source: FSSPX News

Saint Louis Bertrand (left) and Saint Peter Claver (right).

From September 6 to 10, 2017, the Holy Father is making an apostolic visit to Colombia, during which he intends to honor two martyrs killed out of “hatred for the Faith”

FSSPX.News would like to take this opportunity to dwell on two great historical figures of Catholicism in Columbia: St. Louis Bertrand and St. Peter Claver.

Saint Louis Bertrand

This religious is known for being the first saint to have worked in Columbia. He was canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X.

Luis Beltrán was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1526. He received the Dominican habit and left for Columbia in 1562, where he chose a life of the strictest poverty in order to be closer to the natives.

He devoted himself to intense apostolic activity, baptizing many natives. His canonization process mentions the gift of tongues, enabling him to communicate with the locals.

“He fell asleep like a ray of light,” said those who witnessed his death in 1581.

Saint Pierre Claver

St. Peter Claver’s liturgical feastday is September 9. On September 10, Pope Francis will pray at the tomb of the Catalan Jesuit priest, in Cartagena de Indias. Pope John Paul II also went there in 1986, and said in his speech that the saint “shines with special clarity in the firmament of Christian charity of all times”.

Born in 1580 in Verdu, to a family of Spanish peasants, Peter Claver made brilliant studies with the Jesuits before entering the novitiate of the Company of Jesus in Tarragon, on August 7, 1602. During his philosophy studies in Palma de Majorca, he became friends with Alphonsus Rodriguez, a Jesuit brother – the college porter – who spoke to him frequently of the new missions in America, thus kindling in his heart the desire to leave as a missionary for the New World.

Peter Claver left in 1610 for Cartagena de Indias, where he was ordained a priest in 1616 and made himself “the slave of the Africans forever”. Slaves would arrive at the port by the hundreds. Peter Claver fed them, cared for them, and evangelized them. They say he baptized some 300,000 souls. He died in 1654.

Pope Leo XIII canonized him in 1888. The pope had a great devotion to him. He even said that after the life of Christ, no life had “moved his soul” more than that of the great apostle St. Peter Claver. He then declared him the “universal patron of Negro missions”.