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Novena to St. Raymund Nonato

 St. Raymund Nonato

St. Raymund Nonato was born in Catalonia, Spain, in the year 1204 of rich and noble parentage. His mother died while in labor pains, but miraculously St. Raymund came out alive from his dead mother (this explains why expectant mothers and fathers pray for the health of their babies).

When his father knew about his inclination for religious life, he ordered him to stop his studies and work in a farm. St. Raymund obeyed. While working as a shepherd, he spent his time in meditation and prayer. He found in that farm an ancient hermitage containing a portrait of his Blessed Mother. His closeness to the Mother of God was a characteristic of his piety.

Some time afterward, he joined the new Order of Our Lady of Mercy or the Mercedarians, founded for the redemption of captives. He was admitted to profession at Barcelona by the holy founder, St. Peter Nolasco. Within two or three years after his profession, he was sent to Algeria to purchase the liberty of Christians captured by the Muslims. When all his treasure was exhausted, he gave himself up as a hostage for the ransom of others. This magnanimous sacrifice served only to exasperate the Muslims, who treated him with uncommon barbarity, until they began to fear that if he died in their hands, they would lose the ransom which had been asked for his deliverance. A crier announced in the streets that anyone who mistreated him would answer for it, if he died.

In the streets of Algiers, (capital of Algeria) St. Raymund had no more money to employ in releasing poor captives except to appeal to the Muslims, and to converse with the Muslims on the subject of Christianity meant death, yet he continued preaching the gospel. The governor, enraged, ordered him to have his lips pierced and padlocked, to stop him from preaching, then imprisoned until his ransom would be brought by the members of his Order. He remained in jail for eight months before his brothers arrived with the required sum, sent by St. Peter Nolasco.

Created cardinal by Pope Gregory IX, St. Raymund continued to live as a mendicant monk. His feast is celebrated on August 31.

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