Saint of the Month: St. Martin of Tours / San Martin Caballero

Louis Galloche. “A Scene From the Life of St. Martin.” 1737. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Image Library. Public domain.

November’s saint for the Saint of the Month Box is St. Martin of Tours, aka San Martin Caballero, whose feast day in the Roman Catholic calendar is November 11th.

He was a 4th century bishop in Tours but had once been a soldier, and this is how he’s almost always pictured in the art of Western Christendom – a soldier on horseback cutting his cloak in half to clothe a beggar. He had a reputation for miracles even while he was still living, and he was one of the first non-martyred saints to be venerated so widely.

Officially, he’s the patron saint of beggars, the cavalry (and equestrians generally), innkeepers, soldiers, and geese, and he is invoked against poverty and alcoholism.

In popular practice, however, especially in the Latin American tradition, you’ll find his image in restaurants, hotels, bars, shops, and anywhere else where the proprietors rely at least in part on strangers/passing travelers for their income. You’ll also find his image — and especially his horse’s horseshoe — serving as a fairly broad-based good luck token in all kinds of contexts. Folks call on him when they need a job, pray for his intercession to protect them from evil and change their bad luck, carry his package amulet or bundle when they’re gambling, hang his image in their homes for general luck and prosperity, even build a shrine with his horseshoe when they need a better place to live (and they are sure to give the shrine pride of place when they move into the new digs!)

(c) Karma Zain 2014.

You can get your very own cool box of San Martin Caballero stuff in the Saint of the Month box for November at Seraphin Station. They usually contain something you don’t already have because I’ve collected a ton of cool stuff over the course of my lifetime working with saints and spirits, and they will usually contain some item or product that you can’t get elsewhere or otherwise.

Learn more or order your Saint of the Month box now at Seraphin Station.

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