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Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Memorial, 1969 Calendar, celebration, November 11.
Veterans Day in USA, Remembrance Day in Canada.
In the year 316 at Sabaria, Upper Pannonia was born St. Martin of Tours. At an early age, he embraced the Christian faith and became a catechumen. Five years later, at age fifteen, he entered the army under the Emperors Constantius and Julian. While in service in Gaul, on a very cold day, Martin met a half-naked beggar, he divided his coat into two parts and gave one to the men. This is how the celebrated legend of the cloak was born.
Martin received baptism soon after and was released from the army. Beginning his new life, he sought the spiritual guidance and example of Saint Hilary, a wise and pious bishop, a great theologian. Martin was ordained and later he was made bishop of Tours. He built the monastery of Marmoutier where he led a most holy life.
St. Martin of Tours possessed many gifts; he healed a young girl with consecrated oil and he raised three dead men to life. A sphere of light appeared over his head while he was celebrating holy Mass.
At the age of eighty-one, on November 11, 397 St. Martin of Tours died after a grievous fever. Before he died he saw the evil spirit, his last words were “What do you want, horrible beast? You will find nothing in me that’s yours!”
In Europe St. Martin’s feast is known as “Martinmas”, it confirms the beginning of the wine harvest, the arrival of autumn. It was custom to celebrate his feast day by having “St. Martin’s goose” for diner and to taste the new wine, “Saint Martin’s Wine”.
Around his feast day, the warm weather is known as “Indian summer” in the US. In Europe, this time is called “St. Martin’s Little Summer”.
St. Martin of Tours is the patron saint of wine makers, horses, beggars, soldiers, tailors, against poverty and many others.
Image source:St Martin and the Beggar by El Greco (public domain)
The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission by Surgeworks, Inc for the Divine Office Catholic Ministry. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2011 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved. (189)
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