This illegitimate son of a freed Panamanian slave and a Spanish knight became a hero to the people of Lima, Peru, his birthplace, for his compassionate care of the sick and poor. Apprenticed at age 12 to a barber-surgeon, Martin also learned herbal medicine from his mother.
After working for several years at a Dominican monastery as a Third Order member, he made his profession as a lay brother in 1603. He founded an orphanage and foundling hospital, ministered to African slaves, practiced great penances and experienced mystical gifts.
Martin was carried to his grave by prelates and noblemen and all Peruvians acclaimed him their beloved saint.
He is the patron of hairdressers and interracial justice. He is also the patron of St. Martín de Porres Parish in Phoenix.