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*This date in 1581 marks the birth of Peter Claver. He was a Black Patron Saint.
From Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, Claver was a farmer's son who studied at the University of Barcelona and was a Catholic Jesuit Priest at age 20. Influenced by Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, Claver became a missionary in the Americas. 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 the Americas 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, known as Slave of the Blacks and Slave of the Slaves, 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