Saint Raymond

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Saint Raymond

Saint Raymond Nonnatus ("Raymond not born") was delivered by caesarean section after his mother's death. Because of this he is the Patron of childbirth, midwives, and pregnant women, He is also petitioned by those who are falsely accused and imprisoned, and is the patron saint of bail bondsmen and hostage negotiators. His feast day is August 31.

Born in Spain in 1204, Raymond turned from his nobleman's life to become master-general of the Mercedarian Order. He was sent to Algiers to ransom slaves, giving himself himself as a hostage when his money ran out. His zealotry in converting others to Christianity drew the ire of the Mohammedan authorities, who sentenced him to impalement. To prevent him from preaching in prison, Raymond's lips were pierced with a red-hot iron and shut with a padlock. He was ransomed eight months later in 1239, and died on the way to Rome in 1240.

Saint Raymond is traditionally pictured in his Mercedarian habit surrounded by ransomed slaves, a padlock through his lips. More recent images keep only the red and white garb of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy. Appendix 47 of the Roman Ritual is for blessing water in his honor for use in healing. Appendix 48 of the Roman Ritual is for blessing candles in his honor for protection during childbirth.

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