Nov. 11 - Saint Martin of Tours

St. Martin of Tours (c. 316-397 A.D.) was born into a pagan family in what is now Hungary. He was raised in Italy where his father, a senior officer in the Roman army, was stationed. At the age of ten Martin joined the Church as a catechumen soon after Christianity was legalized across the Roman Empire. Taking after his father, he joined the cavalry at the age of fifteen and was stationed in Gaul. At one point during his time of service he encountered a poor beggar who lacked adequate clothing on a cold winter day. St. Martin took his sword and cut his heavy woolen officer cloak in half, and gave the other half to the beggar. Following this act of charity, St. Martin had a vision in which he saw Jesus wearing the portion of his cloak he gave to the beggar, while telling the angels that it was Martin who had clothed him. After this vision Martin sought baptism, at the age of eighteen, and proclaimed himself a soldier for Christ. He left the military and adopted the penitential life of a hermit, attracting followers which eventually resulted in the founding of a monastery. St. Martin gained a reputation for holiness and performing miracles so that, when the bishop of Tours died, the people demanded that Martin take his place. As bishop he continued his austere life, took great care to train holy priests, destroyed pagan worship sites, and worked to spread Christianity throughout his diocese. St. Martin of Tours is the patron saint of cavalry, soldiers, innkeepers, horses and riders, beggars, and those in need. His feast day is November 11th.

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