Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Benedict the Moor (1524–1589)

Saint Benedict the Moor (1524–1589)

Patron saint of African missions, African Americans, and Palermo, Italy

Feast day: April 4

Saint Benedict was not a Moor; his name comes from the Italian phrase il Moro, or “the Black One.” He was granted freedom from slavery at the age of 18. Even though he was free, he continued to work for his former master. Saint Benedict was ridiculed and taunted by others because of his status as a former slave and because of the color of his skin.

Even though he endured harsh words from others, Saint Benedict remained cheerful. He joined a group of Franciscan hermits near Palermo, Italy, and humbly agreed to become superior of the friars. When Saint Benedict’s term as superior ended, he cheerfully went back to working in the friary kitchen. His humble and cheerful nature helped to reform his order. 

(Image by Mateus Hidalgo, CC BY-SA 2.5 BR, via Wikimedia Commons)