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August 31

St Raymond Nonnatus - August 31

Saint Raymond Nonnatus


(1204 – 1240)

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Saint Raymond Nonnatus

Saint’s Life Story

Nonnatus = Not Born 

Ramón (Raymond) was born in 1204 at Portella, in the diocese of Urgel, Catalonia, Spain.  He was delivered by caesarean operation when his mother died in childbirth; hence the name non natus = not born. 

His well-educated father planned a career for his son at the royal court of the Kingdom of Aragon. When Raymond felt drawn to religious life, his father ordered him to manage one of the family farms. What is known is that Raymond spent his childhood tending sheep and would often pray the Rosary at an ancient country chapel nearby dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Mira. If he was of aristocratic descent, clearly his father eventually abandoned hopes for his son’s social advancement.

Devoted to Mary

From the time he was very young, he manifested a great devotion to the Most Holy Virgin. Once Our Lady appeared to him and promised him her protection.   Afterward he was strongly tempted to sin against chastity but did not fall.   He went to thank his Patroness and consecrated his virginity to her.   Mary appeared to him again, showing her satisfaction and advising him to enter the Order of the Mercedarians (Order of Mercy), (the order founded to ransom Christian slaves from the Moors of North Africa) under Saint Peter Nolasco. His father later gave him permission to take the habit with the Mercedarians at Barcelona.


In 1222, Raymond was ordained a priest putting on the white Mercedarian habit covering his chastity and symbolizing the interior purity of his soul. dedicated himself to the redemption of captives. He succeeded Saint Peter Nolasco as the second master general of the order.

Freed Captives in Valencia

Raymond was appointed the title of “Redeemer” marking the beginning of his journeys over turbulent seas where he brought compassion and mercy to captives. In 1224, Raymond accompanied Friar Guillem de Bas carried our his first redemption in Valencia freeing 233 captives. 

Four Times Freed Captives in Algiers

In 1226 in the Moorish city of Algiers, Raymond freed 140 captives and was more than willing to stay behind in exchange for unfortunate captives whose faith was in danger. 

For his third redemption, in 1229 also in Algiers, Raymond was accompanied by Friar Serapion, an English gentleman, and was able to free 150 captives from salvery. 

In 1232, Raymond and Friar Serapion accoomplished snatching 228 captives from Bugia’s dungeons and prisons. On their return, they endured a horrendous storm, which relented Raymond’s petition as Christ commanded the sea at Galilee.

Padlock Torture

Raymond carried out his final (and certainly most glorious) redemption in Algiers in 1236 remembered for the infamous padlock torture. Having exhausted all of his funds, Raymond stayed behind as a hostage. While Raymond was among the captives, he consoled, comforted and encouraged everyone. Raymond even had courage to preach and explain the truths of our holy faith to Allah’s worshippers, refuting the teachings of their prophet Mohammed. So, in order to quiet Raymond’s incessant preaching, the prison master ordered a red-hot spike driven through Raymond’s lips and a padlock to keep him quiet. This was done for eight months until Raymond himself was ransomed by Saint Peter Nolasco and returned to Barcelona.


In 1239, Pope Gregory IX recognizing Raymond’s virtues and apostolic zeal defending the faith, named Raymond a Cardinal of the Church. While on his way to Rome, Italy the next year, Raymond died at the Castle of Cardona, sixty miles from Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain on August 31, 1240.

Devotion to St. Raymond

Due to the story of his own birth, Raymond quickly became widely invoked by women facing childbirth. One particular devotion is centered around the padlock that is part of his martyrdom. Locks are placed at his altar representing a prayer request to end gossip, rumors, false testimonies and other sins of the tongue. The locks are used as a visible sign of such prayer request, a prayer to God through St. Raymond’s intercession.

Beatified:           November 5, 1625 by Pope Urban VIII

Canonized:        1657 by Pope Alexander VII

Feast Day:         August 31

Patron Saint:     Childbirth; Midwives; Newborns; Pregnant Women



While Saint Raymund stayed behind as a hostage, he had the courage to preach and explain the truths of our holy faith to Allah’s worshippers. The prison master ordered a red-hot spike driven through Saint Raymond’s lips with a padlock to keep him quiet and stop his preaching. This cruel punishment lasted for eight months. 

Have you lied, cursed, gossiped about others, and/or talked frivolously in Church? How can you put a “padlock on your lips” today to stop this type of sinful activity? If you cannot keep your mouth closed, start your day by saying kind and positive words to those around you to brighten up their day?


Dear God, Saint Raymond Nonnatus spent his inheritance paying the ransom for Christians who had been enslaved and even traded himself to set others free. Because he miraculously survived his birth as his mother died, he is a patron saint for pregnancies. I ask him to pray for the safe delivery of the unborn children of my family, neighborhood and church. Holy Spirit, touch those who are considering abortion and give them the courage to bring their babies to term. Bless all mothers as they make sacrifices for their families. Pour your generosity upon the families graced with many children.

Saint Raymond Nonnatus, Pray for us. Amen.

Source: Saint Raymond Nonnatus – Good News Ministries (

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Meet Raymond Nonnatus, the saint who was “not born”

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 31 August – St Raymond Nonnatus M. (1204-1240)

Angelus – Saint of the day: Raymond Nonnatus – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume VIII: August. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. August 31 St. Raymund Nonnatus, Confessor

Catholic Exchange – Padlocked Lips Couldn’t Keep This Saint from Prayer

Catholic Fire – St. Raymond Nonnatus, Patron of Expectant Mothers, Midwives, and Newborn Babies

Catholic News Agency – St. Raymond Nonnatus Feast Day: Aug 31

CatholicSaints.Info – Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Raymund Nonnatus, Confessor”. Lives of the Saints, 1876

New Advent – Mershman, F. (1911). St. Raymond Nonnatus. in The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saints, Feast, Family – St. Raymond Nonnatus’ Story

Saint of the Day – August 31 St. Raymond Nonnatus

uCatholic – St. Raymond Nonnatus


Video Link

St. Raymond Nonnatus, Patron of Expectant Mothers and Families – YouTube (Mercedarian Friars USA)