Wednesday, November 11, 2009

St. Martin of Tours and Veterans' Day

Today's saint, Martin of Tours, ties in nicely with the observance of Veterans' Day.
Martin was born in the early 4th century. His father was in the Roman Legions, and Martin grew up to become a soldier too. As a young man he converted to Christianity, and later was ordained a priest and then a bishop.
Martin is an important saint because he worked to establish the church in the rural districts of Gaul (now France--he's a patron of France, with Joan of Arc). Martin also spread monasteries in Gaul.
Probably the most famous story about St Martin is this: When he was still a soldier, one day he met an old beggar shivering in the cold. Martin took his own military cloak and cut it in two, giving half to the beggar. That night, Martin had a dream in which the beggar appeared in glory--and it was Jesus. The Lord told Martin "Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me."

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