Regine Pernoud, the highly acclaimed French medieval historian, and author of best-selling titles on Joan of Arc and Hildegard of Bingen, as well as the book Those Terrible Middle Ages, presents an enlightening biography of one of France's most revered saints, and a man whose impact on France, and Europe, continues to this day.
Martin of Tours lived in the 4th century, at that great turning point in history when the Roman Empire fell and the Church took charge in the West. He left a successful career in the military life to become a monk, and later a Bishop who traveled extensively, evangelizing the countryside and creating that particular sort of community life in a village that is now called a "parish". More than four hundred towns and some four thousand parishes in France are named after St. Martin. The term "chapel" is derived from the actual church where pilgrims venerate Martin's "cape" or cloak.
Martin of Tours was a servant of the common man, as well as the nobility, and a very humble man who responded to the needs of his times and opened up vast perspectives for ordinary, everyday life. Given the crisis of the Christian Faith now facing France and all of Europe, the story of this soldier and great apostle and Christian evangelist is a timely one indeed.