St. Raymond Nonnatus is one of the most beloved saints for Christian families. He was born in the early 13th century. Raymond was nonnatus or “not born” since he was taken out of his dead mothers womb by his uncle. His miraculous life continued as he enter the Order of Mercy and became a heroic redeemer of Captives. Here is his story:
ST. RAYMOND REDEEMS THE CAPTIVES.
One of the most illustrious Saints of the Order of Mercy for the redemption of captives was St. Raymond Nonnatus.
His Superiors chose him to go to Africa, to pursue in the midst of the barbarians of that country the pious purposes for which the Order had been divinely instituted. This mission filled him with great joy.
On reaching Africa he took up his abode in Algeria a place to which the pirate ships conveyed the Christian prisoners whom they had captured on the high seas, and where they were exposed and sold as slaves in the market-places, or awaited the ransom demanded for their deliverance.
The number of these captives was so great at the time of the Saints arrival that he had not sufficient money to redeem them all. But as his charity for these unfortunate people embraced them all with out exception, he resolved to deliver them all from their terrible bondage. To accomplish this, having purchased as many as his limited resources permitted, and having agreed concerning the amount of ransom demanded for the rest, he procured their liberation, offering himself as a hostage till such time as the money required would be sent.
The Saint was then loaded with chains ; but he thanked God from his inmost heart for having given him this opportunity of suffering something for the love of Him Who had died on the Cross to redeem the whole world.
It would be impossible to describe the cruelty of these barbarians towards him, or the sufferings they caused him to endure during the time of his captivity. They were so great that the Cadi or Judge of the place, fearing that he would die under them, and that thus he would forfeit the money he hoped to receive, gave command by sound of trumpet to all concerned that the hostage was not to be further molested, and that if he should die on account of the treatment he received at their hands, he would hold them responsible for his death, and that they themselves would have to pay the ransom agreed upon for his deliverance.
Raymond availed himself of this opportunity to perform heroic works of charity among the Christian captives who arrived day after day, and were subjected to the most unheard-of cruelty. He would visit them in their dungeons and console them, and encourage and confirm them in their faith. He extended his charity even to the infidels, instructing them when opportunity offered in the truths of the Catholic Religion. Many, even amongst the most obstinate, embraced Christianity, and among them two Moors of high rank, who received the Sacrament of Baptism at his hands.
These good works of St. Raymond could not long remain concealed. The Pasha, named Setim, was informed of them, and, being filled with anger, ordered him to be cruelly beaten with rods.
This sentence was carried out with excessive severity, but it was far from restraining the zeal of the holy apostle. He continued to instruct those who manifested any desire to learn the truths of the Christian Faith, and to console and strengthen in their torments those among the Christians whom he perceived to waver in their resolution, or whom the hardship of their condition placed in the danger of renouncing their Faith.
When the Pasha heard of this further despising of his commands, lie ordered him to be scourged in all the streets of the city ; then he pierced his lips with a hot iron rod, and joined them together with a padlock, the key of which was entrusted to the care of the Cadi, who only allowed it to leave his hands when it was necessary to give his prisoner food. He also ordered him to be thrown into one of the deepest dungeons and loaded with chains.
In this sad condition the holy man could not open his mouth to publish the praises of God, but it did not hinder him from opening his heart to speak to Him the language of love by prayers, desires, and holy thoughts. One day as his mind was occupied in pious contemplation, he fell into an ecstasy. His gaolers coming to give him some food, found him in this state prostrate on the ground, his head being supported by his right hand, while the fingers of the left were lying on a book open at his side, and were touching the following verse of Psalm cviii. :“O Lord my God, take not the word of truth from my mouth.” Seeing this, they were astonished, but this astonishment became greater when they heard him utter, with his lips still closed, another verse of the Psalmist : “Thy word, O God, endureth forever.”
The Moors attributed this to enchantment, and to make him cease speaking they beat him with rods and struck him with their feet, then left him with his lips still fastened, without giving him anything to eat.
St. Raymond lived for eight months in the midst of this cruel treatment, which he bore with unparalleled constancy. At the end of that time the religious of his Order arrived with the money that had been fixed upon for his release. The Cadi, who was a man of great avarice, was not satisfied with the amount they had brought, and desired still to retain him. The man of God himself, inflamed with charity for his neighbour, would willingly have remained to console his dear captives in their afflictions, but his brethren succeeded in obtaining his
release, and he returned with them.
St Raymond’s Feast is August 31st. He is the Patron of expected mothers, pre-born babies Christian families and those falsely accused.
The catechism in examples (1908)
Author: Chisholm, D
Subject: Vol. 5
Publisher: London : Burns Oates & Washbourne ltd
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Call number: AKD-5986
Digitizing sponsor: MSN
Book contributor: Regis – University of Toronto
Collection: regislibrary; toronto
Problems with infertility go to St Raymond Nonnatus!!