Saint Peter Claver left his homeland, Spain, forever in 1610 to be a missionary in the colonies of the New World. He sailed into Cartagena, a rich port city washed by the Caribbean where he was ordained. By this time, the slave trade had been established in the Americas for nearly 100 years, and Cartagena was a chief center for it. Thousands of slaves would pour into the port each year under condition so foul that an estimated ⅓ of passengers died in transit. When Claver arrived, he declared himself “the slave of negroes forever”. He aided the incoming slaves with food and baptized about 300,000 of them. After four years of sickness, he was forced to rest and passed away on September 8, 1654. He is the worldwide patron of missionary work among black slaves.
O God, who made Saint Peter Claver a slave of slaves and strengthened him with wonder charity and patience as he came to their help, grant, through his intercession, that, seeking the things of Jesus Christ, we may love our neighbor in deeds and in truth. Amen.