Peter Claver lived in the 17th Century, the son of a Catalonian farmer. He studied at the University of Barcelona, Spain and was ordained a Jesuit Priest at age 20. His mentor was Alphonsus Rodriguez, who, conversely, considered Peter Claver his protégé. Peter Claver was encouraged to become an evangelizer of the Spanish possessions in the Americas. The new leaders there were successful in taking the land, but little else. They could not work, farm, nor maintain their vast recourses. Hundreds of thousands of Africans were brought in and forced to do all of their work, day in and day out, with no reward. The Africans were ordered to exploit the gold mines. The Africans found all the gold that the Spanish Americans looted and spent. The coasts became infiltrated with slave traders. Peter Claver baptized Africans by the thousands, trying to offer comfort and bolster their spirit, through Faith. He tried to teach of the Sacraments and their wonderful effects on body and soul. Peter would reach out to the men and women, fighting their oppression earnestly. He ministered physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There was difficulty communicating, due to different languages and dialects. Peter overcame this by creating teams of interpreters to assist him through the Baptismal processes. Peter Claver’s overall philosophy was to speak by giving, before trying to speak with words. He was able to establish many charitable societies, to help with his insurmountable tasks. He became Saint Peter Claver when canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888, and is proclaimed to be the Patron Saint of African Americans. © 2020
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