Martín de Porres, the first saint of African descent in Latin America, was born in the late 16th century, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a freed slave woman. For most of his life he was linked to the Dominican monastery of Nuestra Señora del Rosario which, due to his status as a bastard and a mulatto (the term by which the study of castas in the Modern Era defined children with one white parent and one black one), he was initially not allowed to enter as a monk. He was denied the chance to say mass and was relegated to tasks relating to the monastery infirmary. It was through his successes as a healer that his fame grew in the area. The miracles attributed to him are largely related to the healing of the sick. Also, and in accordance with another characteristic of certain Christian saints (such as St. Francis or St. Anthony), he is said to have established extremely close ties with all sorts of animals, who he also tended to in his apothecary.