St. Pedro Armengol

May 20, 2022

Saint Pedro Armengol was born in Tarragona, Spain in1238 to Arnau Armengol, his nobleman father. One funny thing about Pedro is that he was a renowned thief as an adolescent. He was a leader of a group of bandits who converted into sainthood when his gang went to hijack his father’s entourage. It happened when his father, in the company of James I of Aragon, was traveling from Valencia to Montpellier, where he was a soldier. On the way, Pedro Armengol and his bandits collided with his father’s troop, and when the father and the son recognized each other Pedro, the son surrendered in tears and pleaded for forgiveness from James I of Aragon. During his tenure in prison, Pedro Armengol went through a period of self-reflection that sparked a sudden religious conversion in his soul. In 1258, he transformed into a member of Mercedarians, where he devoted himself to helping the Christians persecuted by the Moors and Arabs. He spent the years between 1261 and 1266 assisting Christian before being apprehended and sentenced to be hanged in 1266 in Bejaia. Before being hanged, he went through painful torture, only for his good friend William de Bas to come to his aid. The attempted execution left him with a lean face and a twisted neck. Despite the hanging ordeal, he and his friend William de Bas used the ransom he was supposed to be freed with to further free captives in Catalonia. Armengol died on 27 April 1304 in a church later burned in 1646 but left his remains untouched. Pedro Armengol’s story tells a gangster’s journey into sainthood.


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