Peter Claver, patron saint of slaves
*This date in 1581 marks the birth of Peter Claver. He was a Black patron saint.
From Verdu, Catalonia, Spain he was also known as Slave of the Blacks and Slave of the Slaves. Claver was a farmer's son. He studied at the University of Barcelona and was a Jesuit Priest at age 20. Influenced by Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, Claver became a missionary in America. He ministered to slaves physically and spiritually when they arrived in Cartegena, converting an estimated 300,000. He worked for humane treatment on American plantations for over 40 years.
Claver organized charitable societies among the Spanish in America similar to those organized in Europe by Saint Vincent de Paul. Claver said of the slaves, "We must speak to them with our hands by giving, before we try to speak to them with our lips." Peter Claver died on September 8, 1654 at Cartegena, Colombia of natural causes
An Encyclopedia of African American Christian Heritage
by Marvin Andrew McMickle
Judson Press, Copyright 2002
Today in American History