Today In Fact, 9 September

Peter Claver was a Spaniard who joined the Society of Jesus and volunteered to work as a missionary in South America. The Colony of New Spain included the port city of Cartagena in what is today Colombia.

The Spanish slave trade was in full swing in the early 1600’s and Peter Claver worked closely with the slaves. He would board slave ships and give food, drink and support for the slaves. He would also baptise many slaves and then follow-up on them with their owners to see that they were decently treated.

In the 40 years he worked amongst the slaves in New Spain, he baptised over 300, 000 people and upon his death in 1654, had achieved some easing of the conditions that slaves endured.

The patron saint of slaves saw himself as a slave of Christ. I don’t think he ever advocated for the abolition of slavery. Peter Claver just spent his life amongst slaves and tried to make their lot a bit more humane.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer ( )

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