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Saint Peter Claver
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Religious Figure
    (June 26, 1580-September 8, 1654)
    Born in Verdu, Catalona, Spain
    Spanish Jesuit priest who dedicated his ministry to helping slaves in Latin American
    Real name: San Pedro Claver Corbero
    Personal mottoes: 'I must dedicate myself to the service of God, until death, on the understanding that I am like a slave' and 'Peter Claver, slave of the Negro always'
    Despite strong backing from the Papacy, he was entirely unsuccessful in his fight to eliminate slavery which would not end in Latin America for more than two hundred more years.
    He was opposed in many of his efforts by some of his fellow Jesuits.
    He was unpopular among the wealthy, powerful and/or slave owners who he needed on his side.
    He was ignored in his own time and is almost completely forgotten today.
    In a time when blacks were literally considered less than human and slavery an accepted way of life even by some in his own Church, he dedicated his life to helping African slaves in the New World especially Columbia, tirelessly providing spiritual aid (reputedly baptizing over 300,000 people) and the only health care some would ever receive in their lives without a cent of compensation.
    He was so dedicated that he would meet slave ships when they were still at the dock witnessing spiritually to the slaves and crew (often English Protestants or Muslims) and providing emergency medical care to the slaves who suffered horribly (one third mortality rate)during the Atlantic crossing.
    When visiting slaves on plantations he refused to stay in the owner's homes but rather would stay in the slave quarters.
    He suffered terribly from Parkinson's Disease for several years before dying of it.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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