You Give the Coat off Your Back Weekend of November 9 and 10
St. Martin Coat Drive Why Do We Do It?
The Story of St. Martin of Tours and why we our Council sponsors a Coat Drive:
Martin was born of pagan parents in what is now Hungary in circa 316 AD, and grew up in Italy. His father was a tribune in the Imperial Horse Guard. Martin was forced at the age of 15 to serve in the cavalry corps of the Roman military as his father. By the time he was 18, Martin is believed to have served in Gaul, and also eventually Milan and Treves. Scholars think he served as part of the emperor's guard.
As a young soldier, Martin encountered a beggar in Amiens, France. 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 Jesus spoke to him while wearing the torn cloak he had given him. When he awoke, the garment was restored. Moved by this vision and apparent miracle, Martin immediately finished his religious instruction and was baptized at the age of 18.
On leaving the Roman army, Martin settled at Poitiers, under the guidance of Bishop Hilary. He became a missionary in the provinces of Pannonia and Illyricum (now in the Balkan Peninsula), where he opposed Arianism, a heresy that denied the divinity of Christ. In 360 he rejoined Hilary at Poitiers. Martin then founded a community of hermits at Ligugé, the first monastery in Gaul. In 371 he was made bishop of Tours, and outside that city he founded another monastery, Marmoutier, to which he withdrew whenever possible.
As Bishop, Martin made Marmoutier a great monastic complex to which European ascetics were attracted and from which apostles spread Christianity throughout Gaul. He himself was an active missionary in Touraine and in the country districts where Christianity was as yet barely known. He passed away in 397 AD. During his lifetime, Martin acquired a reputation as a miracle worker, and he was one of the first non-martyrs to be publicly venerated as a saint.
Thank You SMT Parishioners! You gave coats to warm more than 250 of God's people!