St. Raymond Nonnatus
St. Raymond only barely survived his own birth, yet went on to lead many, even his captors, to new life in Christ.
Raymond was born in 1204 in Spain, though his mother died while in labor, which prompted his delivery by Caesarian operation. This is the origin of his surname, “Nonnatus,” which means “not born.” He is depicted below as an infant being fed by angels.
His father planned for Raymond to join the royal court, but he felt called to religious life. His father then assigned him the task of overseeing one of the family farms. Raymond spent all of his time in prayer and in conversation with the shepherds and hired hands, so his father gave up on his plans.
Raymond became a priest and spent all he had to ransom Christians captured by Muslims. When he ran out of money, he gave his own life for another Christian and was sentenced to die. His captors realized that he would be worth more if he could bring a ransom, so he was imprisoned and tortured, but succeeded at converting some of his guards. To keep him from converting others, his captors bored holes through his lips and locked his mouth shut with a padlock.
He was eventually ransomed and lived the rest of his life as a poor monk. Because of the circumstances of his birth, he is patron of expectant mothers. His relics rest in the Basilica, and the image of him preaching is used with permission from Catholic.org.
St. Raymond Nonnatus, patron saint of expecting mothers, pray for us!