Saint Martin de Porres and the mice remind us of St. Francis of Assisi and Lupo, the Wolf. The farmers in the town of Gubbio were going to kill a wolf who was attacking their chickens and cows, and eating all their crops. Francis asked to speak to the wolf. He met him in the forest and pleaded with him to stop his vandalism immediately. Francis said he realized that the wolf, whom we now call Lupo, was hungry. He said he would make a deal with Lupo. If he would stop vandalizing the farmers’ crops and animals, Francis would guarantee that the farmers would feed him. Lupo stopped vandalizing the farms; the farmers took turns feeding him, and Lupo not only became their friend, he also became their greatest defender against invaders. To this day, there is a statue of Lupo in the center of the town of Gubbio. When you look at a prayer card, or the canonization painting of St. Martin, you see him wielding the broom, as we said before. Then you see the dog. But to his right, on the floor, there is a dish, with a cat and a mouse and a dove all eating from it at the same time. The mouse is a very important symbol of the ministry of St. Martin de Porres. It began with a problem.-St. Martin's wardrobe room. After all his work, getting new clothing, shirts, sheets and such, one day he found that there were mice in the room. They were nibbling on the shirts and sheets, making holes, and doing their business there, making a terrible smell. Martin didn’t know what to do. His Superior suggested spreading poison to kill the mice. That would do it. But Martin wasn’t having any of that. He waited and watched until, one day he was able to catch
one of the little enemies. He held him in his hands. The mouse was sure this was his end. His little heart was beating so fast. But then Martin spoke to the mouse, softly and gently. In a short period of time, the mouse relaxed. He had no fear of Martin. Martin explained the problem. They couldn’t have the mouse and his friends chewing up all the supplies needed for the Monastery and the infirmary. He realized it was because they were hungry and were not getting enough food. Martin worked out a deal with the mouse. If he led his friends to the far end of the garden, where they would find a new place to live (which Martin would show them), Martin promised that he would be sure they received more than adequate food every day. We’re not going to say the mouse actually answered “Okay” but in effect it seemed like he agreed with his eyes. When Martin put his little newfound friend down, the mouse scurried away. Within minutes, from all over the wardrobe room, the heads of hundreds of little mice appeared from every nook and cranny. Martin led them out of the wardrobe room, out to the garden where there was a whole area which would be suitable for them. They immediately began nuzzling into the dirt, making holes where they could set up their living quarters. Martin was good to his word, as the mice knew he would be. Every day, after he finished feeding everyone else-the shut-ins, the workers in the Monastery and the street people, he would go out to the garden with food for the mice. For their part, they never came back to the wardrobe room or disturbed the Monastery in any way.