Soeurs de Saint-Joseph de Cluny
http://sj-cluny.org/Feast-of-Saint-Peter-Claver
      Feast of Saint Peter Claver

Feast of Saint Peter Claver

The Apostle of the West Indies and the Slave of the Slaves. He is also a patron of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny.


Saint Peter Claver was born in 1580 near Barcelona into a family of Spanish peasants. A good student, he studied with the Jesuits before entering the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at 20 years of age. He was sent to the convent of Majorca where he became friends with Brother Alphonsus Rodriguez, who spoke to him of the Americas. Thus developed within him the desire to serve in the missions in the New World.

He arrived in Colombia, Cartagena in 1610, where he became a priest. Hundreds of black slaves disembarqed at this port after having been crammed into the hold of slave ships. They were treated like animals. Since 1605, a Jesuit, Father Alonso Sandoval had been defending their cause.

Peter Claver pursued this same work. He fed the slaves, looked after them, dressed them, consoled and evangelized them. He also dedicated himself to those condemned to the death penalty and to the most miserable. He died on 8th September, 1654 from the plague, physically and morally exhausted. He was buried in Cartagena and was canonized in 1887.

He is called the ‘Apostle of the West Indies’ and ‘slave of slaves’. The church celebrates his feast on 9th September.

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