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Blessed Assistance

Anthony Esolen on the Un-humanitarian Charity of Martin de Porres

Brother Martin," writes the biographer of St. Martin de Porres, a Peruvian mulatto who lived during the seventeenth century, shortly after the conquistadores had done their ruthless and efficient work, "was no philanthropist, no humanitarian."

That sentence is, I think, a shibboleth: no one but a Christian would understand it. For the biographer, J. C. Kearns, O.P., has just spent many pages describing Martin's vigor in assisting the sick and the poor of Lima. Early in life, he had learned all he could about medicine, so that he could tend to the sick, applying balm and poultices to their sores with his own hands. He became the infirmarian at his . . .

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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books), Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius Press, 2019). He has also translated Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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more from the online archives

32.1—January/February 2019

Surprised by Delight

Divine Love & the Love of Man & Woman Surpass Mere Consent by Anthony Esolen

19.6—July/August 2006

Our Faith Observed

The Three-Fold Cord of Imagination, Reason & Will in C. S. Lewis by Michael Ward

31.2—March/April 2018

Reason Takes Up Arms

How Best to Face the Total War of the Anti-Culture by R. J. Snell