Nov 11, Feast of St. Martin of Tours (San Martin Caballero)

November 11 is the feast of St. Martin of Tours, an early 4th century soldier-turned-bishop.  Martin probably never fought a day in his life, being what one might call a “conscientious objector” to his inherited military career and position, but he is nevertheless famously depicted on horseback and in armor in iconography.  He’s more commonly know in folk Catholic circles as San Martin Caballero (the Horse-Rider), and he’s shown cutting his cloak in half and giving half to a poor beggar.

Some people call him the patron of drunkards, though I don’t know this to be a strong tradition in my area.  Apparently he died on the pagan festival day in his area where new wine was tasted (Nov. 11), and the phrase “martin-drunk” in England is said to reflect this.  I don’t know if this is true; I read it somewhere but I”ve never been to England.

He was born in a Roman province, died in France, and was one of the most beloved bishops of his time.  Today, he is commonly called on for assistance with money, especially by business owners (his image graces the wall behind the register in many a Mexican restaurant in the Southeast U.S.), and he’s known as a saint for good luck in general in many areas.  People who rely on the kindness and/or patronage of strangers will find a strong ally in St. Martin of Tours. He is the patron of the poor, beggars, drunks, horsepersons, inkeepers, and soldiers.

I have called on this saint for assistance with locating a new home, and I know some of my clients have too, with great success.  He is often associated with a lucky horseshoe for cases like this – the horseshoe can be decorated with red ribbon and sequins and hung up in the new home when San Martin has come through for you.

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