St. Juan Macias

Today I was meditating on St. Martin de Porres and St. Juan Macias.  Martin is pretty well known, but St. Juan Macias, not so much.  He interested me because he was content to be just a religious brother, instead of a priest.  Of course, St. Martin de Porres was a brother, also.  However, prejudice prevented Martin from becoming a priest, besides his own humble ambitions.  Martin was a mulatto.

That's not the case with Juan Macias.  The legend tells us that he was orphaned, and brought up as a shepherd, in Spain.  As an adult, he struck out on his own to Seville.  Once there, he was immediately picked out as a country bumpkin, and as such, an easy mark.  A stall owner asked him to mind his stall, while, he went on an errand.  Juan agreed.  The stall own was gone for a few hours, and during that time, Juan had sold quite a bit of merchandise.  Then a couple of hooligans came along and started handling the merchandise, throwing it around, and upsetting the entire display.  They even stole the money box, as they shoved Juan around.

When the owner came back, he accused Juan of staging the entire incident, and demanded that Juan pay for the damages.  But Juan had nothing.  His meager personal belongings in his knapsack had been ruined during the ruckus.  The neighboring stalls added their versions and everyone was blaming others, screaming, and more food fights.  Until, the prior of the nearby Dominican priory stepped into their midst.

Immediately, everything quieted.  People dispersed.  The friar asked Juan his version of the story.  The friar asked the stall's owner his version.  The friar determined that if Juan had no money to pay the owner, then beating him would do no good.  He told the owner that he would take care of Juan.

The Dominican friar took Juan to the priory, and fed, and clothed him.  Juan stayed there for quite awhile.  Long enough to determine that he would like to become a Dominican, too.  Eventually, Juan goes to America--Peru, in fact.  It is in Peru, where Juan Macias becomes a Dominican brother and eventually, a saint.  He is patron of poor souls.

BTW, Juan was probably set up by the stall's owner.  When it was determined that someone was carrying a bundle with all their belongings, the stall's owner and sons would rob the person.  Either their "suitcase," was worth something, or the person would pay for damages to the stall.  

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