A seventeenth-century Spanish Jesuit, Peter Claver was for 40 years a missionary among the Negro slaves of South America. He was born in Verdu, in Catalonia, Spain, in 1581, and he died in Cartagena, Colombia, in 1654. After Peter graduated from the University of Barcelona, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Tarragona in 1601. He was later sent to the college of Montesione in Palma, in Majorca. There he came under the influence of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, who encouraged him to work as a missionary in the New World.
The body of this martyr was interred in the cemetery on the Via Labicana, and Pope Damasus adorned his tomb with the following inscription: “This sepulcher hollowed out of the hill-side contains the body of the martyr Gorgonius, who thus watches before the altar of Christ. Whosoever comes to seek the tombs of the saints in this place will find that other blessed ones rest here, who were led to heaven by the same faith.”
(Source: The New Roman Missal, Rev. F. X. Lasance)