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I am Martin of Tours. I was born in the year 315. As a young man, I was not a Christian, but a soldier in the Roman army. One winter day, I was riding through a poor village in France. I saw a beggar with no cloak on; I felt sorry for him, but I did not have a second cloak to spare. What to do? I cut my cloak in two and gave the man half of it. That night I had a dream. I saw Jesus in my dream, and he was wearing half of my cloak! After a dream like that, of course I became a Christian. Eventually I was made the Bishop of Tours.

Neri di Bicci speaks: Most artists show Saint Martin as a young soldier. I wanted to do something a little different, so I decided to paint Martin in his later years, when he was the Bishop of Tours. You can tell he s a bishop by the miter he wears on his head, and the crosier he carries. He s also wearing gloves and other priestly vestments. In the picture, he s the only one who is looking out at all of us, blessing us with his right hand. I gave Martin a fancy cloak to wear, which is to remind people of the story of how he shared his cloak with the beggar he met on the road.

Saint Martin, you shared what you had
with the poor and needy.
You preached Christ s word and served his people.
Help us to be generous in sharing what we have.
Saint Martin, pray for us!


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