Saint Martin of Tours

Feast Day: November 8th

Martin lived in the fourth century. He was born to non-Christian and raised in Italy. As a son of a veteran he was forced to serve in the military at the age of fifteen. At 18 he was baptized after going through the traditional catechumenate.

Martin journeyed to France and established what may have been the first French monastery near Poitiers. He lived there for 10 years, forming his disciples and preaching throughout the countryside. He was later made the Bishop Tours, France at the urging of the people in spite of his reluctance.

Martin was kind even to people that disagreed with him. He rejected Bishop Ithacius’s principle of putting heretics to death. For his efforts, Martin was accused of the same heresies he found against. Yet Martin still pleaded for a cessation of the persecution of heretic Priscillian’s followers in Spain.

The stained glass window depicts the most-repeated story about St. Martin’s life. While he was a soldier in the Roman army and stationed in France he met a scantily clad beggar near the gates of Amiens. He impulsively cut his military cloak in half to share with the man. That night, Martin dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak he had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: “Martin, who is still but a catechumen, clothed me with this robe.” (Sulpicius, ch 2). In another version, when Martin woke, he found his cloak restored to wholeness. The dream confirmed Martin in his piety and faith in Jesus, which guided him throughout his life.

Saint Martin is one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.