Nov. 11, St. Martin of Tours and Venerable Catherine McAuley

Today, Veterans Day, is the feast of a patron of soldiers, St. Martin of Tours.

When Martin was a young soldier in a cavalry unit of the Roman army, he "happened to meet at the gate of the city of Amiens a poor man destitute of clothing. . . . Martin . . . had nothing except the cloak in which he was clad, for he had already parted with the rest of his garments for similar purposes. Taking, therefore, his sword with which he was girt, he divided his cloak into two equal parts, and gave one part to the poor man, while he again clothed himself with the remainder. . . . In the following night, when Martin had resigned himself to sleep, he had a vision of Christ arrayed in that part of his cloak with which he had clothed the poor man. . . . Ere long, he heard Jesus saying with a clear voice to the multitude of angels standing round -- 'Martin, who is still but a catechumen, clothed me with this robe.'"

--from Sulpicius Severus, "On the Life of St. Martin"

Today, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, at eleven o'clock in Harvard's Memorial Church, the university, which has the greatest number of Medal of Honor recipients outside of the service academies, will honor those ten alumni, including Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Today is also the feast of Venerable Catherine McAuley, Founder of the Sisters of Mercy. They came to this country from Ireland in 1843, and in the decades that followed, thousands of Sisters of Mercy educated, nursed, and provided social services to hundreds of thousands of Americans. Their service in the Civil War is commemorated on the Nuns of the Battlefield Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Other orders memorialized on the monument are the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Sisters of Saint Dominic, Sisters of Saint Ursula, Sisters of the Holy Cross, Sisters of the Poor of Saint Francis, Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Sisters of Charity, and Sisters of Charity of Emmitsburg.

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