The feast day of St. Martin of Tours is celebrated on November 11. He is the patron saint of soldiers and beggars.
St. Martin was born in 315 in Pannonia, a Roman Province. Martin’s father was an army officer. Secretly he became a catechumen (a student preparing to become Catholic) at the age of ten. He longed to be a monk so that he could be alone with God in prayer. He was forced to join the army at the age of 15 before he had been baptized. His job was to protect the emperor. He became an officer and was assigned garrison duty in Gaul.
He is portrayed in art helping a beggar who was freezing cold and in need of help. Martin removed his cloak, cut it in half with his sword and gave one half to the beggar. That night, Martin had a dream in which Jesus was wearing his cloak. The dream inspired Martin to immediately seek baptism. He was eighteen years old. Two years after his baptism Martin refused to fight any longer, saying,
I have served you as a soldier, now let me serve Christ.”
Martin was eventually ordained an exorcist. He was chosen as the Bishop of Tours because of his holiness. Martin lived outside the city because of his need for solitude.
St. Martin was known for his miracles and his compassion. St. Martin died on Nov. 8 and was buried at his request in the Cemetery of the Poor. Near the time of his death, St. Martin prayed the following prayer:
“Lord, if your people still need me, I do not refuse the work. Thy will be done.”
Quote of St. Martin of Tours
November is the Month of the Holy Souls