St. Martin of Tours {short version}

Louis Anselme Longa, La charité de saint Martin
Source: Wiki Commons
I remember hearing about this feast day last year when before we had started RCIA, but hadn’t given much thought to celebrating it then. I knew it was coming up soon, but didn’t realized it was THIS soon until I saw a mention of it two days ago on my FB feed. So, because I save everything until it’s almost too late, this is what I found in my looking around tonight.

{short version – because I didn’t get myself organized before hand. Another year we’ll have to try for a little more}

Quick Facts:

  • Born c.316 near Sabaria
  • At age 15, entered the army; served under Emperors Constantius and Julian
  • Legend has it he met a poor, naked beggar who asked alms in Christ’s Name. Having nothing with him except his weapons and cloak, he took his sword, cut the cloak in two, and gave half to the poor man. The following night Christ appeared to him clothed with half a cloak and said, “Martin has clothed Me with this cloak!”
  • At age 18, received the sacrament of Baptism
  • Was ordained when released from the army, eventually being made Bishop of Tours
  • Founded a monastery in Marmoutier
  • His feast day, also known as Martinmas is traditionally the time during the harvest season when the slaughter of meat for winter takes place (because it would be cold enough to keep)
  • What we know as “Indian Summer” here in the US is also known as “St Martin’s Little Summer” in Europe

What We Did:

Make Lanterns


(there are a few more traditions I found, but since I was looking at info “Day Of” it didn’t really get worked into the plan…. always next year…;) )

This is a little bit I found about a Lantern Walk, which is a traditional in Germanic cultures:

Regarding Lantern Walks, the authors of the book “All Year Round” write:  “The traditional way of celebrating Martinmas is with lantern walks or processions, accompanied by singing.  St. Martin recognized the divine spark in the poor man of Amiens, and gave it the protection of his own cloak.  When we make a paper lantern, we, too, may feel that we are giving protection to our own little “flame” that was beginning to shine at Michaelmas, so that we may carry it safely through the dark world.  It may only be a small and fragile light- but every light brings relief to the darkness.”

It fits in perfectly with the Gospel reading we did at dinner:

No one who lights a lamp hides it away or places it under a bushel basket, but on a lampstand so that those who enter might see the light. The lamp of the body is your eye. When your eye is sound, then your whole body is filled with light, but when it is bad, then your body is in darkness. Take care, then, that the light in you not become darkness. If your whole body is full of light, and no part of it is in darkness, then it will be as full of light as a lamp illuminating you with it brightness.

Luke 11: 33-36


O God, who are glorified in the Bishop Saint Martin both by his life and death, make new, we pray, the wonders of your grace in our hearts, that neither death nor life may separate us from your love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Little Holy Days (Green)


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