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This month we celebrate the life of Saint Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest who ministered to the needs of slaves destined for the Americas.
Once a slave ship arrived Claver set to work, giving slaves basic medical attention and providing them food when possible. Additionally, he gave them basic instruction in the Christian faith and throughout his 40 years of ministry, baptized an estimated 300,000 slaves.
The hallmark of Claver’s ministry was his ability to see the dignity of every human person, even when they were being treated like animals. He saw through the rough exteriors of the slaves and saw the inner person, made in the image and likeness of God.
Furthermore, his charity toward these slaves was a beacon to others, showing them how to be an instrument of God’s mercy. Claver’s actions were really quite simple, doing what he could with what little he had, but done with great love. His ministry of encounter touched countless lives during his life and continues to affect people today.
May his example inspire us each day to live a life of charity, treating others with the dignity they deserve, and going out of our way to encounter those who are suffering.
Writer and Content Manager
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)