Saint Raymond Nonnatus, Confessor

August 31

Today is the feast day of Saint Raymond Nonnatus.  Ora pro nobis.

St. Raymond Nonnatus was born in Portella in the Diocese of Urgel, Catalonia, around the year 1203. He received the name of Raymond at his Baptism and the nickname of Nonnatus [non natus in Latin means not born] because he was not born normally, but was delivered by a caesarian operation. His father was a shepherd according to some, and a member of the noble family of Cardona, according to others. His mother died during child birth and his father had high expectations for Raymond to serve in the country’s Royal Court.

Saint Raymond Nonnatus

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

Catalonia was the native country of St. Raymund who, to the astonishment of the Physicians, was born after his mother’s death. As soon as he was old enough to comprehend how early he had become an orphan, he chose the Queen of Heaven as his mother, and to his last day, called her by no other name. When he had studied for some time with great success, his father, fearing the youth would enter a Religious Order, sent him into the country to take care of a farm. Raymund obeyed, and found there also opportunity to serve God. He became very fond of solitude and therefore chose for his occupation the care of the sheep, in order to gain more time for prayer and meditation.

At the foot of the mountain to which he generally led his flock, was a small, deserted hermitage, with a chapel, in which an extremely lovely picture of the Blessed Virgin was kept, which was a source of great joy to him. He there spent several hours daily, in devout exercises. Other shepherds, who observed this, and to whom the piety of Raymund was a reproach of their own negligence, reported to his father that he was doing nothing but praying, and thereby neglected his flock. The father came to convince himself of the fact, but although he found his son praying in the chapel, he saw that the flock was meanwhile attended to by a youth of uncommon beauty of form and features. Asking his son who this young shepherd was, and why he had engaged him, Raymund, to whom it was unknown that Providence had worked a miracle in his behalf, fell on his knees before his father, and begging forgiveness, earnestly promised not to commit the fault again.

The Divine Mother, of whom he begged the grace of knowing his vocation, appeared to him, saying that she desired him to take the habit of the newly established Order for the redemption of captives. He did so, and was sent to Algiers where he found a great many Christians in slavery, and as the money he had brought for their ransom was not sufficient, he offered himself as a hostage to redeem the others. He was induced to this by the danger in which the prisoners were of losing their faith and with it eternal life. This great and heroic charity gave him occasion to suffer much for the sake of Christ. At first, he was treated very harshly by his masters, but when they began to fear that he would die before the ransom was paid, they allowed him more liberty, which the holy man used only for the salvation of the captive Christians. He strengthened them in their faith, and, at the same time, endeavored to convert the infidels.

Accused of this before the Judge, he was condemned to be impaled alive, and nothing but the hope of a large ransom prevented the execution of this barbarous sentence, and caused it to be changed into a cruel bastinado. Raymund, who desired nothing more fervently than to die for Christ’s sake, was not intimidated by what he had undergone, but wherever an opportunity offered itself, he explained to the infidels the word of God. The Judge, informed of it, ordered him to be whipped through all the streets of the city, and then to be brought to the market-place, where the executioner, with a red hot iron, pierced his lips, through which a small chain was drawn and closed with a padlock, in order that the holy man might no more use his tongue to instruct others. Every three days the lock was opened, and he received just enough food to keep him from starvation. Besides this, he was loaded with chains, and cast into a dungeon, where he lay for eight months, until his ransom arrived. Although it was the desire of the Saint to remain among the infidels, as he would there have an opportunity to gain the crown of martyrdom, obedience recalled him to his monastery.

When the Pope was informed of all that Raymund had suffered during his captivity, he nominated him Cardinal; but the humble Saint returned to his convent and lived like all the other brothers of the Order, without making the least change in his dress, food, or dwelling, nor accepting any honor due to him as so high a dignitary of the Church. Gregory IX, desired to have so holy a man near him, and called him to Rome. The Saint obeyed and set out on his journey. He had, however, scarcely reached Cardona, six miles from Barcelona, when he was seized with a malignant fever, which soon became fatal. He desired most fervently to receive the holy Sacraments, but as the priest called to administer them to him, delayed to come, God sent an angel, who brought him the divine food. After receiving it, he returned thanks to God for all the graces he had received from Him during his life, and peacefully gave up his soul, in the 37th year of his age.

After his death, the inhabitants of Cardona, the clergy of Barcelona and the religious of his order, contended as to where the holy body should be buried. Each party thought they had the greatest claim to possess his tomb. At last they resolved to leave the decision to Providence. They placed the coffin, in which the holy body reposed, upon a blind mule, determined that the treasure should be deposited in the place to which this animal should carry it. The mule, accompanied by a large concourse of people, went on until it had reached the hermitage and chapel where the holy cardinal, as a shepherd boy, had spent so many hours in prayer, and had received so many graces from God. There the Saint was buried, and St. Peter Nolasco, in the course of time, founded there a Convent, with a Church in which the holy remains are still preserved and greatly honored by the people of Catalonia. (1)


Patron of: Christian Motherhood, Newborns, Midwives, Obstetricians, Expectant Mothers, Women In Labor, Falsely Accused, Secrets, Fever.

Glorious St. Raymond, filled with compassion for those who invoke thee and with love for those who suffer heavily leaden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at thy feet and humbly beg of thee to take the present affair which I recommend to thee under thy special protection. ( your request here.)

Vouchsafe to recommend it to the Blessed Virgin Mary and lay it before the Throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all obtain for me the grace of one day beholding my God face to Face, and with thee and Mary and the saints praising and blessing to all eternity. Amen.

Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request.
Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request.
Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

Image: Cristo premiando a San Ramón Nonato (5)

Research by REGINA Staff






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