St. Martin of Tours (316 – 397 A.D.) was a Roman soldier, a hermit, a monk, a founder of monasteries and the Bishop of Tours, France. I first came to know of St. Martin while stationed in Germany on my first assignment to Spangdahlem Air Base. Grade school children in the Eifel area made paper lanterns in their schools and led their local villages in a procession in the early evening through the streets of the village to a nearby field where a huge bonfire was set up – and freshly baked soft pretzels were handed out to all of the children. At the bonfire the figure of St. Martin dressed as a Roman soldier on horseback and wearing a long red cloak, reminded everyone – young and old – of the historical account of St. Martin dividing his cloak in half with his sword to clothe a poor and nearly naked beggar who was freezing on the streets of Rome as St. Martin’s unit passed by.
The act of sharing his military cloak with a beggar was the first public act of faith, kindness, humility and mercy of St. Martin; whose life was recorded in detail by Sulpicius Severus (360 – 420 or 425 A.D.) in his book, “Life of St. Martin” – which there is a link to below. St. Martin is the Patron Saint of France and of soldiers to name just two, and the Feast of St. Martin is celebrated on November 11th.
It is my desire to dedicate St. Martin’s Cloak Foundation for Peace through Love to the dream of World Peace, in honor of the life and faith of St. Martin of Tours – in the hope that this Foundation would emulate his faith, kindness, humility and mercy – to love and serve all of God’s people in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
At the moment this Foundation exists only through this blog and has no official structure to it or behind it, but someday I hope that it will transition into an official registered non-profit organization. The only currency used and exchanged by this Foundation is God’s spiritual currency of Love – no worldly currency is used or accepted.
Instead of my rewriting the story of the life of St. Martin, here are just a few links to read about the life and faith of St. Martin of Tours:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09732b.htm (St. Martin of Tours)
http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/Saint.aspx?id=1196 (St. Martin of Tours)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_of_Tours (St. Martin of Tours)
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14332a.htm (Sulpicius Severus – who wrote “Life of St. Martin”)
http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/npnf2-11/sulpitiu/lifeofst.txt (“Life of St. Martin” – by Sulpicius Severus)