There's enough of the residual Catholic in me to note that today is the feast of St. Martin de Porres, one of the cooler saints in the calendar. The illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and an ex-slave, Juan Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579, and spent his life in the service of the poor. He was the first black saint from the Americas and is the patron of people of 'mixed race'. (Celebrating him seems particularly pertinent under this disappointingly Eurocentric papacy, which has seen Benedict XVI appoint a disproportionate number of European cardinals to oversee a church 40% of whose members live in Latin America and 25% in Africa and Asia.)
As I've remarked before, were I ever to resolve my arguments with Christianity, St. Martin de Porres would be a prime candidate for my patron saint, though he'd have to battle it out with St. Martin of Tours, whom I admire for his early advocacy of the separation of church and state (after the execution of a group of heretics, he protested that the church was wrong to use the power of the secular state to enforce matters of belief).
An additional coolnesss factor attaching to St. Martin de Porres is the fact that, to my knowledge, he's the only saint to have had an album dedicated to him by a jazz legend: Black Christ of the Andes by the great Mary Lou Williams. Here's the opening track: