St. Peter Claver

St. Peter Claver, our patron, was a Jesuit who left Spain in 1610 to be a missionary in the colonies of the New World. He sailed into Cartagena (now in Colombia), a rich Caribbean port-city. When he arrived, the slave trade had been established in the Americas for nearly 100 years; Cartagena was a chief centre for the abominable trade. Ten thousand slaves poured into the port each year after crossing the Atlantic from West Africa under conditions so foul and inhuman that an estimated one-third of the passengers died in transit.

As soon as a slave ship entered the port, Peter Claver moved into its infested hold to minister to the ill-treated and exhausted passengers. After the slaves were herded out of the ship like chained animals and shut up in nearby yards to be gazed at by the crowds, Claver plunged in among them with medicines, food, bread, brandy, lemons, and tobacco. With the help of interpreters he gave basic instructions and assured his brothers and sisters of their human dignity and God’s saving love.

He died on September 8, 1654, and was canonized in 1888.

St. Peter Claver is the patron of our school because he is a model of what we desire for our students: that they become men and women dedicated to the welfare of the “least among us”; that is, that they learn to love to serve.