Just before Martin was born, Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire and the bloody persecution of Christians soon came to an end. The Gospel message soon flourished in ancient Rome, transforming the empire.
Martin’s parents were pagans, but he responded to the call of the Gospel and became a Christian. At the age of fifteen, Martin was required to follow his father into the cavalry corps of the Roman military. As a young soldier, Martin encountered a beggar in Amiens. The beggar was unclothed, and it was very cold. Martin removed his cloak and with his sword, he cut it in half. He gave this half to the beggar and dressed himself in the remnant. That night, Martin had a vision in which Christ appeared to him. The vision spoke to him, “Martin, a mere catechumen has clothed me.”
About the age of 20, Martin made clear to his superiors that he would no longer fight, following his formed Christian conscience. He became the first recognized conscientious objector in recorded history. Eventually, Martin was subsequently released from military service.
He fully dedicated himself to the service of Jesus Christ and the Church. Martin established a monastery which would be inhabited by the Benedictines. He was an extraordinary evangelist. The city of Tours needed a new bishop, and he was ordained and became a holy and hardworking Bishop. In addition to his appointed rounds, Martin combated paganism. He passionately and faithfully proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and won many to the Christian faith. He longed for more prayer and wanted to pursue a monastic life. He established an abbey at Marmoutier so he could retreat there and live as a monk with the many disciples he had attracted. Many miracles and the casting out of demons were attributed to Martin during his lifetime.
Saint Martin is the patron of the poor, soldiers, conscientious objectors, tailors, and winemakers. His feast is on November 11. He commonly appears on horseback and is shown cutting his cloak in half with a sword.