THE Apostolate of St. Peter Claver is unique. In the history of
God's Saints we read of heroic souls giving themselves as slaves in
exchange for Christian captives. Two orders, the Trinitarians and
the Order of Mercy had this for their object. From 1198 to 1787 the
former redeemed, from the Moors of Africa, 900,000 white slaves,
while the latter from 1218 to -1632 ransomed 490,736, and added a
fourth vow to the usual three, viz: "To take the place of a captive
if there were no other means of effecting his ransom." But St.
Peter Claver's vocation was different. He was in a new world whose
aborigenes were rapidly dying out; a new business had sprung up-the
slave traffic-by which Negroes were brought from Africa to work in
America. Strange commerce Unholy scheme of money making Banking
houses, mercantile circles, clerks, skippers, et id genus omne,
were engaged in this traffic in human flesh. In spite of the
commercial loss represented by the bones scattered along the bed of
the Atlantic, and over the trackless deserts of Africa, the profits
of this traffic were enormous, consequently flesh and bones weighed
lighter than the traders' gold. St. Peter Claver's call was to
these slaves; surely a unique vocation. No sympathy was his; no
encouragement, nothing but open hostility, ill-concealed contempt,
or at best an irritating apathy. For forty years he met the
incoming slave ship, to repeat day by day the same round of work.
In his life there are no startling or diversified events, no
frequent voyages. St. Peter Claver crossed the seas but once, and
never quitted, for the rest of his life, the country to which
obedience restricted him. He performed no important negotiations,
established or reformed no religious order, made no brilliant
changes of places or circumstances. His actions are heroic, his
miracles stupendous; but they are always the same, ever in the same
place and for the same despised Negro slaves. What was done
yesterday St. Peter Claver repeats to-morrow. So his forty years of
labor roll on in a crucified sameness. Variety in suffering, as in
pleasure, change of place as of work renders them more relishing,
now every and any alternative was denied to St. Peter Claver, who
for instance, a thousand times kissed and sucked loathsome ulcers;
a feat which is regarded as heroic in other Saints when done but
once. Nature had nothing to cling to in those forty years of
Christ-like sacrifice among the slaves of Carthagena. This fidelity
to duties so painfully monotonous was an essential element in the
holiness of his life. In Christ crucified he found the power and
the wisdom of God. And it took the strength of Christ to continue
on so faithfully. This life of St. Peter Claver is brought out in
order to stimulate vocations to the Negro Missions, which even now
have the characteristics of Claver's vocation. True slavery is gone
but many of its effects remain; remain not only on the Blacks but
also on the Whites. Much as men are willing to forgive those, who
wrong them, yet they' never forgive those whom they themselves have
wronged. Wretched paradox The poor Negro is never forgiven because
he is black and because he was a slave. His vices are thrown up to
him by those who engendered them; his services of two-and-a-half
centuries are the reason why they who were benefitted have not a
good word for him. The vocation to the Negro Missions is truly
Claverine. In place of the slave-ship, we have the cheap, badly
built tenements; instead of the middle passage, there are now the
back streets and alleys. But the atmosphere surrounding the Negro
Missions is about the same as Claver found it in Carthagena;
neglect, apathy, hostility, misrepresentation.
Is the information for this product incomplete, wrong or inappropriate?
Let us know about it.
Does this product have an incorrect or missing image?
Send us a new image.
Is this product missing categories?
Add more categories.
Review This Product
No reviews yet - be the first to create one!