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Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Happy Martinmas! (And 96th Anniversary of Armistice Day)

Today is a two-fold celebration.

Firstly, today is Martinmas, the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, and a great celebration in the Catholic sense.  This is the end of the autumn season and essentially a “Catholic Thanksgiving.”  There are many traditions associated with today.  I encourage you to read up on them by clicking here.  You may also read the life of St. Martin of Tours here.

Secondly, today is Veterans Day (originally called Armistice Day).  President Woodridge Wilson, an anti-Catholic at heart, started this day.  While today is a fitting day for us to recall the lives of those who perished and honor their service and commend the repose of their souls to God in prayer, let us not forget the Catholic sense of praying for the dead and those in the military.

And let us not forget that today is the celebration of Martinmas!

The Feast coincides not only with the end of the Octave of All Souls, but with harvest time, the time whennewly-produced wine is ready for drinking, and the end of winter preparations, including the butchering of animals (an old English saying is "His Martinmas will come as it does to every hog," meaning "he will get his comeuppance" or "everyone must die"). Because of this, St. Martin's Feast is much like the American Thanksgiving (celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November) -- a celebration of the earth's bounty. Because it also comes before the penitential season of Advent, it is seen as a mini "carnivale" with all the feasting and bonfires. As at Michaelmas on 29 September, goose is eaten in most places (the goose is a symbol for St. Martin himself. It is said that as he was hiding from the people who wanted to make him Bishop, a honking goose gave away his hiding spot), but unlike most Catholics, those of Britain and Ireland prefer pork or beef on this day.  Source: 

The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month at the Eleventh Hour...

Before Omaha Beach, D-Day (June 1944)

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be

During World War I (1914 - 1918)

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

Funeral Mass (Date Unknown)

A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers blest by the suns of home.

Mass on the Battlefield (Date Unknown)

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thought by England given;

Mass on the Battlefield (Date Unknown)

Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English Heaven

Source: "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Image Sources: Believed to be in the Public Domain


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