Local Events and Fiestas

It was fiesta time in El Roque last week, where San Martin de Porres was honoured.

Martin was born in Lima, Peru, as the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a young, Black former slave born in Panama. He had a sister Juana born in 1581. He grew up in poverty, and at the age of 15 was taken in by the Dominicans as a servant boy. As his duties grew he was promoted to almoner, and then put in charge of the infirmary. His piety and miraculous cures led his superiors to drop the racial limits on admission to the Order and he was made a full Dominican brother. It is said that when his priory was in debt, he implored them: "I am only a poor mulatto, sell me. I am the property of the order, sell me please!" Martin was deeply attached to the Blessed Sacrament, and according to a biography of him in "The Saint Martin De Porres Prayer Book" (p147-152), he was praying in front of it one night when the step of the altar he was kneeling on caught fire. However, the story goes, throughout all the confusion and chaos that followed, he remained where he was, unaware of what was happening around him.

His work on behalf of the poor was tireless: he established an orphanage and a children's hospital. He maintained an austere lifestyle, which included fasting and forswearing meat. His devotion to prayer was notable even by the pious standards of the age. Among the many miracles attributed to him were those of levitation, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and an ability to communicate with animals.

In iconography, Martin de Porres is often depicted as a young mulatto priest with a broom, since he considered all work to be sacred no matter how menial.

Surfbum was there and took these photographs for us of the religious procession. This being Spain there was also a number of fun activities, including a foam party, live band and theatre.