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January 7

St Raymond of Penyafort - January 7

Saint Raymond of Peñyafort

“Father of Canon Law”

(1175 – 1275)

And if He gave His life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for His sake. If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross.

Saint Raymond of Peñyafort

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Education 

Raymond was born on 1175 at in Vilafranca, Catalonia, Spain. Vilafrance is a small town near Barcelona. He was the gifted son of the count of Peñafort in Catalonia, Spain. Raymond was educated at the cathedral school in Barcelona, Spain.

Professor of Canon Law

Raymond continued his education at the University of Bologna in Italy, where he received doctorates in both civil and canon law.  At the age of 20, Raymond was already a professor of philosophy. From 1195 to 1210, he taught canon law. In 1210, he moved to Bologna, where he remained until 1222, including three years occupying the Chair of canon law at the university.

His Life as a Dominican Friar

In Bologna, Italy, Raymond first met the Dominicans. He was attracted to the Dominican Order by the preaching of Blessed Reginald of Bologna. He was made archdeacon in 1219 by Bishop Berengarius of Barcelona.  Raymond received the Dominican habit at the age of 47 in 1222. Raymond had a strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother, and it was this devotion that led him to forgo worldly fame and become a Dominican. 

Using His Legal Skills

The Dominican Order made good use of his legal skills by assigning him the task of collecting and organizing all the laws and rules of the Church. At the order of Pope Gregory IX, Raymond produced a collection of cannon law. He authored the Summa de Casibus Poenitentiae, a manual on canon for the order. He also published several editions of the Summa Casuum – a guide for confessors and moralists on the rules of sins.

As a result of his strong influence in academia and the university setting combined with his virtuous character, his great works, and his gift for preaching, many were drawn to the Dominican Order.  As a result, there was an influx of vocations. Raymond was famous for his preaching to Moors and Christians throughout Spain. He was convinced that Christians could only convert others if their own lives set an example of selflessness and holiness.

Archbishop of Tarragona But Relieved

In 1235, Pope Gregory named him Archbishop of Tarragona. However, sickness and his pleadings to be relieved of such a duty encouraged the pope to replace him with another. So Raymond returned to his solitude and contemplation in Barcelona as he convalesced from a serious illness. Rejuvenated by the peaceful life of the priory in Barcelona, Raymond resumed his work as a preacher and confessor successfully making many conversions.

Elected Master General of the Dominicans

In 1238, Raymond was elected Master General of the Dominicans the general chapter in Bologna. He made the visitation of his order on foot without discontinuing any of his penances or religious exercises. As Spiritual Father, Raymond instilled in his spiritual children a love of contemplation, solitude, studies, and apostolic works.

His Death

Raymond suggested to the renowned theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas, to write the Summa Contra Gentiles to assist missionaries to assist in the efforts among non-Christians. Raymond gave himself to the cause of converting Muslims and Jews. So, he organized a school of Arabic and Hebrew studies. 

During the last 30 years of his one hundred years of life, Raymond lived in prayerful obscurity, giving to others the fruits of his contemplation and labor. On his deathbed, he was visited by Alphonsus, the king of Castile, and James I of Aragon, one of his penitents. Raymond is best remembered in the Church as a wise and holy confessor. He was appointed at different times as confessor to the pope and king.


Beatified:            1542 by Pope Paul III

Canonized:        April 29, 1601 by Pope Clement VIII

Feast Day:         January 7

Patron Saint:    Canon Lawyers, Lawyers



Saint Raymond shows us that you don’t have to be famous or wealthy or depend on the world to influence people when you have the power of God.  Although he gave up his worldly fame as a teacher, he influenced more people, including kings and popes, through his faith and devotion to God.

What can you do today to influence people you encounter with the power of God that you have?

Source: St. Raymond of Penyafort (


St. Raymond of Peñyafort, teach us to see the law of God and the law of the Church as one harmonious law meant to foster true communion among men and true communion between God and men. May God’s law be our law. And may the law never be an obstacle to true love and devotion.

Saint Raymond of Peñyafort, pray for us. Amen.

Source: Saint Raymond of Peñyafort – My Catholic Life!

Saint Links​

Aleteia – St. Raymond’s advice on what to do during persecution

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Raymund of Pennafort

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 7 January – St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) the “Father of Canon Law” – Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. January 23 St. Raymund of Pennafort, Confessor

Catholic Exchange – St. Raymond of Penyafort

Catholic Fire – St. Raymond of Penafort, Father of Canon Law

Catholic Ireland – Jan 7 – St Raymond of Peñafort (1175/80-1275)

Catholic News Agency – St. Raymond of Penafort Feast Day: Jan 07

Catholic Online – St. Raymond of Pennafort – Saint Raymond of Penyafort

Franciscan Media – Saint Andrew

Independent Catholic News – St Raymond of Penafort

Loyola Press – Saint Raymond of Penyafort Feast Day January 7

My Catholic Life – Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest, c. 1175–1275

New Advent – O’Kane, M. (1911). St. Raymond of Peñafort. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Raymond of Penafort OP

Saints, Feast, Family – St. Raymond of Pennafort’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275)

Saint of the Day  – January 07 St. Raymond of Pennafort

uCatholic – Saint Raymond of Penafort

Vatican News – St Raymond of Penafort, Dominican, Co-Founder of the Mercedarians

Wikipedia – Raymond of Penyafort

Video Link

St. Raymond of Peñyafort – YouTube Video (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)