St. Martin de
Porres (December 9, 1579 – November 3, 1639) was a Third Order
Dominican who served the Lord in Peru. A very holy man, he focused on
caring for the poor, establishing an orphanage and a hospital for
children, for which he was rewarded with the supernatural gifts of
bilocation, the ability to know things beyond the powers of man,
healing, and levitation.
But it's his way with God's creatures that makes his story relevant to
this section of the website: he was what would be called these days an
"animal whisperer," much in the way St. Francis was.
One day, some of his fellow Dominicans, novices, brought two bulls to the
monastery. When they began to fight, St. Martin had a little talk with
the beasts, telling them to behave themselves. He brought food to them,
and asked the older bull to allow the younger bull to have his fill
first. The bull obeyed -- and even kissed St. Martin's habit.
It's the story of St. Martin and the mice, though, that is
most famous. The monastery became overrun with them, which caused a lot
of damage. Mice, being rodents, must chew, chew, chew in order to keep
their teeth from growing so large that they become unable to eat. In
response, St. Martin held a meeting with the furry little creatures,
beckoning them to the garden, where they met him as a group. He told
the hundreds of gathered mice that if they remained outdoors, he would
care for them. And like the bulls, they, too, obeyed.
Note: There is a book for children, first published in the 1960s, about
the story of St. Martin and his mice friends. It's entitled, "Saint Martin de Porres and the Mice," and you can
find it at Amazon (link will open in new browser window).