Franciscan Saints




31st August



The Servant of God Martin of Valencia


Confessor, First Order


Father Martin of Valencia came not from the large Spanish town of that name, but from a little village in the diocese of Leon. There he was born in 1470. Martin manifested a decided attachment for St. Francis and his order from his youth. He begged for the habit of the Franciscans shortly after he had entered upon studies. ln the novitiate he read the book of Father Bartholomew  of Pisa on the similarity between the life of St. Francis and of our Lord. This stimulated in him a desire to conform his life with that of Christ in imitation of St. Francis. He longed especially to devote himself to the salvation of souls. As soon as he was ordained a priest, he applied himself with unusual zeal to work  and had most blessed results.


On one of his journeys he was overpowered by robbers, who bea; him nearly to death; but he prayed for his torturers. He was also subjected to many interior trials. A spirit of dryness and many kinds of temptations tortured him for years, and neither prayer nor rigorous mortification afforded him any relief. But they helped him bear the trial by which almighty God was preparing him to do great things for Him. On one occasion Father Martin read in Psalm 58: “Visit all the nations, O Lord, the God of Hostsl" and then found this passage twice; “They shall return at evening" (Ps. 58,7-15). He was then given the comforting assurance that in the evening of his life, very many nations would return to God through him. He did not have to wait long for its fulfillment.


In the year 1524 Emperor Charles V of Spain petitioned the superiors of the Franciscans for missionaries for the recently conquered province of New Spain or Mexico. Twelve apostolic men were chosen for the mission, ten priests and two lay brothers. Father Martin, who was then almost fifty-five years old, was placed in charge. They arrived safely in Mexico and then, according to the instructions given them, they devoted themselves to the conversion of the Indians. Their work was crowned with amazing success. The terrible human sacrifices ceased, numerous idols were demolished, their temples destroyed. In their places, Christian churches were built, wayside crosses were erected, Christian schools and convents were founded.


Father Martin, who was the guiding spirit of this great work, received the name of Apostle of the Indians. In the year 1531 he could report to his superiors in the order: “Each one of the twelve of us who were sent here, has baptized no less than a hundred thousand Indians. They were docile to our instructions, they receive the sacraments with great devotion, and send their children to our schools. These children give promise to our highest hopes, are very intelligent, and love and venerate the Mother of God." What the Church was losing during those very years through Martin Luther in Germany, Father Martin of Valencia was regaining for her in the New World. Exhausted by hardships and the rigorous mortification he constantly practiced, he died on one of his journeys in the year 1534,in the arms of an associate. God glorified him by many miracles.





Prayer of the Church


Keep Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in perpetual

mercy, and because without Thee the weakness of man is wont

to fall, save him by Thine aid from all things hurtful, and guide  

him to all things profitable unto salvation.

Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth  and reigneth
Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen



Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois


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