Raymond Nonnatus

April 22, 2022

The patron saint of pregnant women and all that is childbirth was born in Catalonia in the year 1204. The mother, having passed away during childbirth, the saint was retrieved from the womb through a cesarean procedure. His birth process brought forth his name Raymond Nonnatus. Nonnatus in Latin means “not born.”

He was sent by his father to run one of their family farms at an early age, but his soul was more inclined to the clergy. He eventually convinced his father to let him join the Mercedarian Order in Barcelona. It was an order dedicated to ransoming slaves, and through his quest to serve, Raymond Nonnatus freed enslaved people in Valencia, Algeria, and was himself held captive in Tunisia.

In Tunisia, the saint was engaged in converting his jailers and other prisoners to Christianity. This led to his lips being bored with a hot iron and locked together. Initially sentenced to death, his captors opted to have him jailed for the ransom he could fetch, which eventually came to be in 1239. He was ransomed and taken back to Barcelona, where he died a year later, at the age of 36.

After death, those claiming his body disputed where he should be buried and put his remains on a blind mule for resolution. The mule drove the remains unguided to a chapel he had worshiped at in his early years. It was his final resting place. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VII in 1657, and his feast is celebrated every August 31st.


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