Classroom Saint: St. Peter Claver
St. Peter Claver
born 1581, Verdú, Spain—died September 4, 1654, Cartagena, Colombia
feast day September 9
Peter entered the Society of Jesus in 1602 and eight years later was sent to Cartagena, where he was ordained in 1616. The miserable condition of enslaved people aboard ships and in the pens of Cartagena, South America’s chief slave market, caused Peter to declare himself “the slave of the Negroes forever”; he dedicated the rest of his life to alleviating their suffering. Accompanied by interpreters and carrying food and medicines, he boarded every incoming slave ship and visited the pens, where he nursed the sick, comforted the distraught and terrified captives, and taught religion. Despite strong official opposition, Peter persevered for 38 years, baptizing an estimated 300,000 enslaved individuals. He also visited them on the local plantations to encourage their faith and to exhort their masters to treat them humanely; during these visits he often refused the hospitality of the plantation owners and instead stayed in the slave quarters.
He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII, who in 1896 proclaimed him patron of all Roman Catholic missions to African peoples. Peter is also the patron saint of those in slavery and the Republic of Colombia.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "St. Peter Claver". Encyclopedia Britannica, 31 Aug. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Peter-Claver. Accessed 5 September 2022.
Prayer to St. Peter Claver
Lord, for love of you
St. Peter Claver became
the faithful servant of slaves.
Through his prayer
help us to see the true dignity of the human family,
all children of one father
and to spend ourselves for their salvation.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Señor, por amor a ti
San Pedro Claver se convirtió el fiel servidor de los esclavos. A través de su oración ayúdanos a ver la verdadera dignidad de la familia humana, todos los hijos de un padre y gastarnos por su salvación. Te lo pedimos por Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, tu hijo, que vive y reina contigo y el Espíritu Santo, un solo Dios por los siglos de los siglos. Amén.