Spirituality for Today – August 2010 – Volume 15, Issue 1

Saint of the Month
Raymund Nonnatus, August 31

In 1204, a time when the Muslims were taking Spanish Christians as slaves, Raymund came into the world by Caesarian section just after his mother died. Consequently, he was given the surname Nonnatus, or non natus, Latin for "not born".

An image of Saint Raymund NonnatusSt. Raymund Nonnatus

Raymund likely was educated in Barcelona, because that is where he joined the Mercedarians, an order founded to ransom Christian slaves. Peter Nolasco, the Order's cofounder, soon sent Raymund to Algeria with a large sum of money, where he successfully ransomed a number of Christian slaves. When his money ran out, Raymund offered himself as ransom for others. At first, the Muslims treated him harshly. But then they freed him, fearing that they would lose the ransom if he did not return safely.

Once freed, Raymund went about comforting fellow Christians and converting Muslims to Christianity. For this, he was repeatedly tortured, but Raymund refused to stop spreading the Word of the Lord. After Raymund endured eight months of imprisonment in a dungeon, Peter Nolasco personally ransomed him and sent him home.

Back in Catalonia, Raymund was made a cardinal, but he continued to live simply. When he was summoned to Rome in 1240, he insisted on traveling as a simple religious man, but he did not get far.

He died at Cardona, a short distance from Barcelona. Raymund was named the patron saint of midwives because of the unusual circumstances of his birth.

Dear Lord,
I ask of You this day
to give me the patience
and the knowledge to comfort
and to listen to those around me.

I ask of You this glorious day
to give me the strength
and the skill to support
and nurture those around me.
Dear Lord our God,
like a breeze, like a whisper,
allow me to approach others
who have pained hearts
and give to me the right words to help heal them
In Your name I offer this prayer. Amen

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives