SAINT RAYMOND NONNATUS (c.1204-1240), priest
Patron saint of pregnant women
and those suffering from fever and false accusations
Today, the Church honors Saint Raymond Nonnatus, who suffered imprisonment and torture to keep him from preaching about the life of Jesus Christ.
Raymond was born into Spanish nobility about the year 1200 in Catalonia, Spain. His mother died during childbirth and his father had high expectations for Raymond to serve in the country’s Royal Court. However, since his youth, Raymond felt drawn to religious life.
In an attempt to dissuade him, his father ordered him to manage one of the family farms. However, Raymond spent his time with the workers, studying, and praying. His father finally relented and allowed Raymond to enter the Mercedarian Order at Barcelona, Spain, where he eventually was ordained a priest.
Being sent to Algiers in order to ransom Christians from Muslim captors, Father Raymond spent his entire estate in order to free those who were held captive; and when there was no more money, he then surrendered himself as a hostage to free another. While being a hostage, He was zealous in teaching the Christian faith to his captors and made many converts, which embittered the Islamic authorities.
Father Raymond was subjected to all kinds of indignities and cruelty and other forms of torture until he was, at last, sentenced to impalement. However, the hope of a greater sum of money as ransom caused the Islamic governor to commute the sentence into imprisonment. To prevent him from preaching about Christ, Father Raymond’s lips were pierced with a red-hot iron and closed with a padlock.
In time, he was eventually ransomed and returned to Barcelona, Spain in 1239. Elevated to the position of cardinal by Pope Gregory IX, he continued to live as a mendicant monk, embracing his vow of poverty and serving the needs of the poor.
The following year, Cardinal Raymond was summoned to Rome by the pope; and, while en route, he died from a fever in Cardona, Spain on August 31, 1240, only six miles from Barcelona. His body was brought to the chapel of Saint Nicholas near his old family farm, where the faithful paid their last respects and where he was interred.
We commemorate his feastday on August 31.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Holy Men)
“God our Father, You alone are Holy; without You nothing is good. Trusting in the prayers of Saint Raymond, we ask You to help us to become the holy people You call us to be. Never let us be found undeserving of the glory You have prepared for us.
“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”