THE GRAVE OF SAINT MARTIN IN TOURS: A place of Christian pilgrimage until it was viciously attacked in the French Revolution, it has been restored today.
He attracted followers. More than 80 men gathered with Martin to form an early monastic community – about a century before St Benedict and his famed monastic rule. This community of Liguge survived until 1607 as a monastery; it was rebuilt by the Benedictines of Solesmes in 1852. Because of his holiness and renown as a preacher, Martin became Bishop of Tours in 371 by popular acclaim. It was not an office he sought; however, it seemed God always had other plans then Martin had for himself.
Traveling for Christ
Bishop Martin continued to live an austere life near Marmoutier, which later also became a famous monastery. Here he trained priests, many who would later become bishops themselves. He also traveled widely, covering incredible distances throughout what is now France and Germany, deliberately seeking out pagan strongholds to bring them the Gospel. He traveled far from his diocese, and the stories that accompanied his visits emanate from today’s cities of Trier, Dijon, Beaune, and Vienne. Martin would go into villages, destroy pagan sites, and build a church. As such, Martin was one of the originators of the Catholic parish. (Paroikia is Greek for house, parochia is latin, and paroisse is French).
Martin is known to have raised three people from the dead, the last one a pagan child near Chartres.
This last miracle helped convert many pagans. There is a Martin story regarding a pine tree that is almost as famous as the cloak story. Many of the pagans were of cults that worshiped sacred trees. Undaunted, Martin proceeded to cut down the symbol of their cult. The peasants there offered to cut it down themselves, on condition that he who trusted so strongly in his God would stand under it wherever they would place him. Martin agreed and allowed himself to be tied under the side towards which the tree was leaning. We hear of the intense fear of the brother monks who accompanied. Just as it seemed about to fall on him, he made the sign of the cross, at which the tree fell in the other direction. The pagans gasped at the miracle, the monks wept for joy, and many of the pagans asked to become Christians because of what they had witnessed. Many stories are also told of Martin pitted in demonic combat. Martin won these spiritual battles using prayer and the Sign of the Cross as his weapons. Often, Martin was called to drive demons out of people, and animals. Martin succeeded by the grace of God, always knowing Who the Exorcist actually was.
A Holy Death
Martin was still traveling and doing the Lord’s work at 80 years of age, though he sensed that he would soon to join the Communion of Saints. He was traveling in Touraine, at Candes on the Loire River, there to settle a dispute among a group of prelates. Feeling weak, he asked to be taken into the local Church. October 2014 France | Regina Magazine
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