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Catholic Identity

Saint Martin welcomes students, faculty, staff and supporters of all religious traditions and places high value on the ongoing spiritual development of our students. Our roots are Catholic through our religious endorsers, The Chicago-Detriot Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and the Sisters of the Humility of Mary.

The complex moral challenges of our time demand that schools focus on ethics and values. We have worked hard to create a community of caring aligned with the Seven Key Themes of Catholic Social Teaching:

  • Life and dignity of the human person
  • Call to family, community, and participation
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Preferential option for the poor and vulnerable
  • Dignity of work and the rights of workers
  • Solidarity
  • Care for God’s creation

With a Catholic model of caring, we never lose sight of our mission to support students to become bound to their global community and to be responsible for each other. We have been given a sacred trust and responsibility—to help raise the students at Saint Martin to their potential – intellectually, emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually.

Who was St. Martin?

Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579. His father, Don Juan de Porres, was a Spanish nobleman who later became governor of Panama. His mother, however, was a free black woman named Ana Velasquez. Some time after his birth, Martin’s parents separated. His father left Martin’s mother and her young children in a dire economic situation. This did not embitter Martin but made him sensitive to the plight of the disadvantaged, especially orphans to whom he would devote much of his time and resources.

Having received a rudimentary education from a tutor, Martin was apprenticed to a barber, a profession which at the time combined hair-cutting with surgical and medical skills. Martin quickly mastered his trade, but at the age of fifteen he applied for admission for the lowliest position as a donado or lay helper, responsible for the menial tasks of the monastery. He was accepted, and so assumed the Dominican habit. From a very young age, he was very devoted to prayer and the practice of his faith. As a Dominican, this innate desire grew and developed to the point that he was renowned for his holiness and piety.

Despite his extreme humility, Martin could not long disguise his talents and abilities, especially his medical skills. Before long he was given charge of the monastery infirmary. Through his ingenious knowledge of herbal remedies and homemade medicines Martin earned a wide reputation as a gifted healer among all echelons of society despite the divisions along class and racial lines. Martin did not confine his healing ministry to the monastery. He cared for the sick and injured wherever he found them, especially the homeless who lived in the streets of Lima with no one to care for them.

To learn more about Saint Martin and our Catholic Identity, please contact Virginia Malloy, Vice President of Mission, at 216.881.1689.