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Saint Martius, Abbot
  April 13th  

    The memory of St. Martius or Mars, abbot of Clermont in the Auvergne, has been preserved by St. Gregory of Tours, whose father when a boy had been cured by him of a fever. From early youth, Martius had resolved to give himself to God, and upon attaining manhood he retired from the world to lead the solitary life; he hewed himself a hermitage in the mountain side and carved the stone bed upon which he lay. His sanctity and spiritual gifts attracted disciples who gradually formed themselves into a community, whose time was divided between prayer and the cultivation of the soil, which they converted from a desert into a flourishing garden. St. Gregory of Tours tells the following anecdote. One night a thief broke into the monastery enclosure and set about rifling its apples, onions, garlic and herbs. When he had collected as much as he could carry, he attempted to depart, but was unable to find his way out in the dark. He therefore lay down on the ground to await the daylight. In the meantime Abbot Martius in his cell was fully aware of all that had happened. At the break of dawn, he summoned the prior and told him to go into the garden and release a bull which had found its way in. "Do not hurt him" he added, "and let him have all he wants, for it is written, 'Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out thy corn!' " The prior went forth and came upon the thief, who started up on seeing him, threw down his booty and attempted to escape. He was, however, caught by the briars. The monk smilingly released and reassured him. Then, after picking up the scattered spoil, he led the culprit to the gate where he laid the pack upon the man's shoulders saying, "Go in peace, and give up your evil ways". St. Martius lived to the age of ninety, and his tomb was the scene of many miracles.

    All that we know concerning St. Mars is found in the Vitae Patrum of St. Gregory of Tours, ch. xiv; and see Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. ii.

Butler's Lives of The Saints, Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater