Knights of Peter Claver
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St. Benedict the Black Council #188 was established in 1977 at St. Thomas Parish, and has become a part of the life of St. Augustine. The group is open to any practicing Catholic male who is at least 18 years of age. Meetings are held the fourth Sunday of each month. Joseph Randolph is the lead Knight.
There is also a Junior Knights Division for boys ages 7 to 17. Junior Knights are a part of the growth and future of the Knights of Peter Claver.
The order was founded in 1909 in Mobile, Alabama is to render service and named after St. Peter Claver. St. Peter Claver (artist's depiction shown above) was born was born in 1580 in northern Spain. At the age of 42 he became the first Jesuit Priest to be ordained in Cartagena. He made his solemn profession in 1622 and signed the final formula: Peter Claver, slave of the Negroes forever.
St. Peter Claver is honored among Black Catholics because he honored the dignity of African Slaves till his death. St. Peter Claver met every slave ship upon its arrival, bringing with him bread, brandy, lemons and tobacco. He cared for the sick and the dying in the most unselfish manner. Peter Claver died on September 8, 1654. Pope Pius IX beatified him in 1851 and he was declared a Saint in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII.