Martin was a soldier’s son and expected to join the Roman army, although he really wanted to serve in Christ’s army. During his service as a soldier, one night he came upon a poor, needy soul, and having little else to share tore his cloak in two and gave one half to the poor man. The next night, he heard, sung in his dreams, ‘Martin, you have clothed Me with this cloak.’

Eventually he won a discharge from the army and became a hermit at Tours in France. Soon others joined him and they formed a community of monastics in the desert tradition, living simply and loving God. After a while Martin saw the need to look out from the community, and he set up teams to evangelise and to occupy sites of former heathen shrines. Thus the missionary monastic movement, characteristic of Celtic Christianity, had its beginnings. Ninian of Whithorn (see August 26th) visited Martin on his way home from a visit to Rome, and so was inspired to set up a similar community in south-west Scotland.

By Your grace, O Lord, may I be a person of peace, a helper of the needy and an encourager of all who desire to seek and serve You; to the glory of Your name. Amen.