Patron saint of France, soldiers, mendicants and innkeepers
Spring of St Martin in France (Manche)
He was born in 312 in Pannonie from pagan parents. He brought up in Pavie.
He was sent in garnison in Amiens by his father, old roman legionnaire. It was an
evening of winter that he met on his path a poor chilled to the bone. He offered
to him a half of his coat. Why the half and not all ? Would it be a wobbly charity
? Not at all !
We must know that roman estate gave only the half of necessary sums at the purchase
of soldier's arms and uniforms. St Martin couldn't only give the part of coat which
he was proprietor, the other one beeing owned by the managership.
After this meeting, he dreamt that the poor man was Jésus-Christ. Then, in 339, he
was baptized. He obviously refused to continue to fight and, for that, he was imprisoned.
Accused of weakness, he proposed to place himself without arms between the two enemy
camps. He finished his soldier's career when he was been free.
At his return in Pannonie, he converted his mother and circle. He went to preach
against Arianisme (in french in the text) in Illyrie but he was banished of this
country. He went to Italy and quarelled with Auxence, arien bishop of Milan who banished
Afterwards, he lived like a recluse some time on a small island near to Ligurie.
Martin rejoined Hilaire de Poitiers when this one found again his see after the banishment
imposed by Constance in 360.
Martin put up a monastery at Ligugé where some disciples went to rejoin him. That
was the first hermitage founded in Gaul.
Martin went on Poitiers to preach. He was proclaimed bishop of Tours in 371 by the
people, despite his opposition. He lived in a cell near to his cathedral for the
first times, afterwards he settled at Marmoutier in a community constituted to eighty
He also founded several other monasteries. In isolated regions, he fighted in order
to pull down pagan temples and sacred trees.
Although he was opposed to the Priscillionistes' doctrine, he took their defence
because they were condemned by the imperial estate. He wanted them to be juged by
St Martin made numerous miracles like the recovery of a leper.
He died the 11 november 397 and his tomb was immediately been a destination to a
pilgrimage very popular.
The "summer of St Martin" corresponds to a beautiful weather period which situates
arround his feast.