The New Sculpture Of Saint Peter Claver in Cartagena

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In 1980, during the fourth century commemoration of the birth of Saint Peter Claver an international group of Jesuits, along with members of the Cartagena Society, met in Cartagena, Colombia. Collectively, they sought to celebrate the Saint's anniversary is a special and solemn way. Father Angel Valtierra, who, like Claver, was from Spain, had written a few biographies about the Saint, and suggested a monument to the "slave of slaves". Recognizing that Cartagena has many monuments, they felt that one of supreme importance was missing-a monument to the man who gave his life to the service of the slaves - Saint Peter Claver. The group further decreed that he should receive the title of: "Precursor In The Defense of Human Rights".

A petition was sent before the National Congress which adopted the idea with enthusiasm. The President of Colombia, Belisario Betancur, signed Law 95, in November 18, 1985.

For reasons, mostly financial, nothing much happened until 1994 when a long time admirer of The Saint, Alberto Sumido de la Ossa, became involved. The popular sculptor Enrique Grau was commissioned to prepare a preliminary model that was to be: an extraordinary piece of art, that dignified Cartagena, and immortalize the memory of Saint Peter Claver.

The resolve of those working on the often delayed project never wavered, and finally, in 1998, the monies were placed in the General Budget of Colombia. Finally, after many years, the work would proceed through completion and dedication.

The sculpture depicts The Saint in the company of a slave as they stroll through the streets of Cartagena. The statue is unique, in that it is erected at ground level. Because of this, the people: men, women and children, quickly identified with The Saint and the Slave. There was quick and universal public acceptance of the Statue.

Made of ski bronze, with a height of 2.2 meters, the statue is located in Centro, Cartagena de Indias, in front of the Saint Peter Claver Sanctuary, formerly the home of the Saint.


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