Symbols tell an abbreviated story. In church symbols, the broom for the saint feast day of November 3 stands not for a witch, but for Saint Martin de Porres. Little is known or celebrated in the northern hemisphere of this humble saint whose fame was sweeping the Dominican monastery grounds and tending to the beggars and the sick in Lima, Peru, in the 1500s. Hagiographers (those who study the saints) tell us that Martin was born of a black freed slave woman of Panama and a Spanish gentleman. His single mother raised him to have respect and compassion for all. Many claimed his kindness to the sick included miraculous healings. Martin is listed as patron of veterinarians because it was said that he was able to communicate with animals…He successfully talked the mice out of chewing on the monastery’s sacred linens by promising to feed them every day.
By Judy Kramer, OSB