A Roman by birth
St. Martin, was born in 316 the son of a pagan, and was from an early age attracted by the faith and way of life of the early Christian Church. Yet when he became a Catechumen on his journey towards baptism, his pagan father had him press-ganged into the Roman army.
A Convert to the faith
He remained in the army for about twenty years until, after an encounter with a freezing beggar at the gate of Amenes, to which he gave half his cloak, a vision of Christ impelled him finally to receive baptism and to leave the army for the life of a monk. In 360 Martin joined St. Hilary at Poitiers and founded a monastery at Ligugé, the first in France.
“Lord, if your people need me, I will not refuse the work.
Your will be done.” – St. Martin of Tours
A person of holiness
Visiting Tours in 372, the people were so impressed with his holiness, that they made him their new bishop, much against his will. He refused, however, to live in the bishop’s house and instead founded another monastery at Marmoutier on the outskirts of the City from where he encouraged the growing monastic movement, he introduced the Western Church’s parochial system and died in 397.
The example of Saint Martin’s faith was so enthusiastically embraced by Christians that he begun to be honoured by thousands of pilgrims who acknowledged him as a patron saint of France and of soldiers and beggars.