Feast Day: September 9
Canonized: January 15, 1888
Beatified: September 21, 1851
Peter Claver walked to the dock. He saw the ship that came from Africa. Peter saw guards outside the ship. He had to get on that boat. The guards tried to stop him, but Peter went inside anyway.
Peter couldn’t believe what he saw. He had never seen so many people before. The inside of the ship was very small. The people were so crowded they couldn’t move. The ship was hot and dirty.
The people had no water to drink. They had no water to wash with. Many of them were very sick. They were all afraid. These people had been taken from their homes in Africa. They were going to be sold as slaves. These people had no freedom so they were very sad. Peter knew this was wrong. He decided to help.
Peter Claver was born in Spain in 1580 and entered the Jesuit order at an early age, making vows in 1604. Six years later he was sent to what is today Colombia, where thousands of African slaves landed each month to labor in the New World. For 33 years, Father Claver ministered to these slaves, nursing the sick ones, baptizing them, and reminding them that God loved them. He often traveled to the plantations where they worked to offer them spiritual comfort and instruction and to be sure their owners treated them well.
He died in 1654 after bringing the sacraments to hundreds of thousands of slaves. St. Peter Claver was canonized in 1888.
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