Saint Martin of Tours and Veterans Day

Catholic Origin of Veteran’s Day: St Martin of Tours

by Dr Taylor Marshall (https//

Veterans Day is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. In other countries, the day is celebrated as Armistice Day. It recalls the ending of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.

However, there is a deeper, Catholic meaning to November 11. This day is the feast of Saint Martin (316 – 397) – that godly hermit and bishop who had once been a soldier. Martin laid down the sword in order to live a life of peace and penance under the gentle yoke of Jesus Christ. St Martin is Europe’s chief example of the transition from soldier to saint; from war to peace.

Traditionally, November 11 had previously served as a day of signing peace treaties in honor of Saint Martin. Thus, it was fitting to end Europe’s Great War on this same day –the feast of St. Martin of Tours.

So there’s a little Catholic history for you to share at the water-cooler or at your next cocktail party. Saint Martin is the ultimate veteran – a veteran from Christ.


Saint Martin, patron of soldiers, veterans and peace, pray for us.


Saint Martin of Tours and Veterans Day   By Carson Holloway

November 11 is the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours, and in America it is also Veterans Day.

Martin is most famous for having cut his military cloak in half to share with a beggar. He was a soldier in the Roman army before he became a bishop.  We are also told that even while he was still in the Roman army he came to faith saying, “I am a soldier of Christ.”

Martin’s example reminds us of the lofty Christian tradition of renouncing violence. At the same time, however, this does not take anything away from the lofty virtues of those who do fight to protect their country.  We can celebrate both Martin’s feast and Veterans Day.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that although war is to be avoided where possible, there is such a thing as just war.  Sometimes it is necessary to fight, and those who do the fighting in those cases do a noble service.  Here is a part of section 2310 of the Catechism: “Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations.  If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.”

St. Martin, you were first a soldier like your father. Converted to the Church, you became a soldier of Christ, a priest and then a Bishop of Tours. Lover of the poor, and model for pagans and Christians alike, protect our soldiers at all times. Make them strong, just, and charitable, always aiming at establishing peace on earth. Amen.


Heart, Soul and Mind

Monsignor Royal's weekly column as featured in our bulletin.


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