St. Peter ClaverWednesday, September 9, 2015
Lived(1581-1654) | Feast Day: Wednesday, September 9, 2015
St. Peter Claver(Spanish: Pedro Claver y Corberó, Catalan: Pere Claver i Corberó) (26 June 1581 – 8 September 1654) was a Spanish Jesuit priest and missionary born in Verdú (Catalonia) who, due to his life and work, became the patron saint of slaves, the Republic of Colombia and ministry to African Americans. During the 40 years of his ministry in Colombia it is estimated he personally baptized around 300,000 people. He is also patron saint for seafarers.
Claver was born in 1581 into a devoutly Catholic and prosperous farming family in the Catalan village of Verdú, Urgell, located in the Province of Lleida, about 54 miles (87 km) from Barcelona. He was born 70 years after King Ferdinand of Spain set the colonial slavery culture into motion by authorizing the purchase of 250 African slaves in Lisbon for his territories in New Spain, an event which was to shape Claver’s life.
Later, as a student at the University of Barcelona, Claver was noted for his intelligence and piety. After two years of study there, Claver wrote these words in the notebook he kept throughout his life: “I must dedicate myself to the service of God until death, on the understanding that I am like a slave”.