SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS-Bishop & Confessor

This great and renowned saint was born in Pannonia or Hungary,
about the year 317. He removed, at an early age, with his parents to
Pavia in Italy where he was educated. His father occupied a position of
honor in the Roman army. At ten years of age, against the will of his
parents, St. Martin enrolled himself among the catechumens in order to
be instructed in the doctrines of Christianity. Even at that tender age he
felt a call to the monastic state, but at fifteen years of age he was
compelled to enter the army, in which, however, he lived more as a
saint than as a soldier. In his eighteenth year he received the
Sacrament of Baptism and sometime later he entered the military
service. He next went to St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, by whom he
was ordained exorcist, his humility preventing him from receiving the
character of deacon, with which the Bishop wished to invest him. On a
short visit to his parents in Pannonia, he had the happiness of
converting his mother, but his father remained a heathen. Learning that
St. Hilary had been banished, he began to lead a retired life near Milan.
On the return of St. Hilary, he followed him to Poitiers and built a
monastery at Ligugé, where he lived until he was chosen Bishop of
Tours in 371.
In his new dignity he continued to lead the same humble and
mortified life as before. At first he lived in a little cell near the church,
but he afterward laid the foundations of the celebrated monastery of
Marmoutier, which then consisted only of a series of grottoes in the
rock, or of wooden cells, in which the holy Bishop and his disciples
dwelt and performed their exercises of piety. A number of disciples
flocked to his monastic standard, and he thus became the founder of
monasticism in Gaul, as St. Anthony had been in Egypt and St.
Hilarion in Palestine. This monastery also became a nursery of
Bishops, such was the reputation of the disciples of St. Martin. The
zealous labors of the saint succeeded in extirpating idolatry from the
diocese of Tours and the neighboring parts of Gaul. Although in the
midst of the heresies of his time, he was a staunch adherent of the
Catholic Faith. He, as well as St. Ambrose, energetically protested
against those who would put heretics to death. The life of this great
saint was one of constant prayer. His virtues were also rewarded by an
extraordinary gift of miracles. .Lives of the Saints, pgs 443-444