Tuesday, 3 November 2009

St. Martin de Porres

An aunt of mine has always had a great devotion to St. Martin de Porres. whose feast day we observe today.

As a young woman, she  married into a family in which there were three priestly vocations: one diocesan priest and two missionary priests.The family made great sacrifices to assist the three brothers on the road to priesthood, including financial sacrifices which involved selling off part of their farming land, and accepting the consequent reduction in income.
The marriage was blessed by the gift of six children, all now married and living close by. However, pregnancy and childbirth were not without difficulties for her family owing to the Rhesus status of her blood type, and my aunt suffered greatly over the loss of four babies during pregnancy or shortly before birth. More details about Rhesus factor here , but just to briefly explain:

Everyone's blood either has the Rhesus factor (RH+) or does not have the Rhesus factor(RH-).the majority of people are RH+.
A  RH- wife, with a RH+ husband, and carrying a RH+ baby, without medical intervention, may experience major problems during second and subsequent pregnancies and the life of the baby may be at risk.This is because childbirth can leave traces of the baby's (RH+) blood in the mother's (RH-) system. RH- blood attacks RH+ blood as if it is 'foreign', First pregnancies are not  usually directly affected, but can trigger the 'attack' reaction for subsequent pregnancies.
Rhesus factor problems are now almost entirely preventable thanks to the introduction of  an antibody,Anti D immunoglobulin, which rapidly destroys any RH+ cells present in the mother's body, thereby preventing any 'attack'.

During my aunt's childbearing years, there was no antibody to  help protect the life of her unborn children.Of her family,I believe two babies were stillborn at term, and two died in her womb before term, owing to the Rhesus problem.The  medical advice seemed to be to not have any more children.
When  she became pregnant for the last time, my aunt prayed incessantly to St. Martin de Porres, the Saint to whom she had a special devotion. She asked him to intercede before God, that her baby would be born safe and sound. She begged for St. Martin's help and she trusted that God would hear.

The pregnancy was uneventful, no in utero blood transfusions were needed, and a daughter was delivered at term, who was given the name of:


in honour of  the Saint, to whose intercession my aunt attributes the great favour of the preservation of her infant daughter's life.

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