Today we honor St. Peter Claver who spent forty years in Columbia, meeting shiploads of African slaves.

Friday, 9/9/16

St. Peter Claver was born forty miles from Barcelona in1581, That was seventy years after king Ferdinand had purchased 300 slaves for work in what is now Columbia. Peter, as a student at the university of Barcelona,  wrote a note to himself, saying, “I must dedicate myself to the service of God, on the understanding that I am like a slave.”

At twenty, Peter entered the Jesuits. Then, after his novitiate and Philosophy studies, at twenty-nine he volunteered to work in Columbia. From the time of his final profession as a Jesuit, Peter met all the slave ships, going down into the filthy holds where often a third of those died on their passage over. From interpreters he learned that many of them had been told that they would be eaten as meat in America. Actually, they were herded into pens where they were looked over by would-be-buyers.

Little by little, Peter learned enough of African languages that he was able to instruct an immense number of those who asked for Baptism. 

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