I first learned about St. Martin de Porres by reading about him in a Children's book by Mary Fabyan Wyndeatt. He was born in Lima, Peru in 1579, the illegitimate son of a white Spanish Father and a black freed woman. He lived with his mother and was very poor. He studied medicine as a teenager and then joined the Dominicans, professing vows as a lay brother in 1603.
At the monastery, he was placed in charge of the infirmary, where he nursed the sick. He cared for all with tender love. He gave food to all who needed it. He had a special love of the animals and seemed to be able to communicate with them. He was able to bilocate, but this gift was only used in service to God and people.
What this saint shows me is that our background and beginnings do not dictate what we may become as children of God. God has wonderful plans for each of us. He uses our background, our interests and our desires and gives us opportunity for growth. He calls each of us to serve His church in a particular way. St. Martin died in 1639.