Saint of the Day – St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) “Father of Canon Law” Dominican Priest, Doctor of Canon Law, Founder of the Mercedarian friars, the third Master of the Order of Preachers, Writer, Teacher, Miracle-Worker – born on 1175 at Peñafort, Catalonia, Spain and died on 6 January 1275 at Barcelona, Spain of natural causes. Patronages – attornies, barristers, lawyers, canonists, medical record librarians, Barcelona, Spain, Navarre, Spain.
Raymond was born of a noble Spanish family, at the age of twenty, taught philosophy at Barcelona with marvellous success. Ten years later his rare abilities won for him the degree of Doctor in the University of Bologna and many high dignities.
A tender devotion to our blessed Lady, which had grown up with him from childhood, determined him in middle life to renounce all his honours and to enter her Order of St. Dominic. There, again, a vision of the Mother of Mercy instructed him to co-operate with his penitent St Peter Nolasco (1189-1256) and with James, King of Aragon, in founding the Order of Our Lady of Ransom for the Redemption of Captives (the Mercedarian friars). He began this great work by preaching a crusade against the Moors and rousing to penance the Christians, enslaved in both soul and body by the infidel. King James of Aragon, a man of great qualities but held in bond by a ruling passion, was bidden by the Saint to put away the cause of his sin.
On his delay, Raymond asked for leave to depart from Majorca, since he could not live with sin. The king refused and forbade, under pain of death, his conveyance by others. Full of faith, Raymond spread his cloak upon the waters and, tying one end to his staff as a sail, made the sign of the cross and fearlessly stepped upon it. In six hours he was borne to Barcelona, where, gathering up his cloak dry, he stole into his monastery. The king, overcome by this miracle, became a sincere penitent and the disciple of the Saint till his death.
In 1230, Gregory IX. summoned Raymond to Rome, made him his confessor and grand penitentiary and directed him to compile “The Decretals,” a collection of the scattered decisions of the Popes and Councils.
Having refused the archbishopric of Tarragona, Raymond found himself in 1238 chosen third General of his Order which post he again succeeded in resigning, on the score of his advanced age. Rejoicing to see himself again free of office, he applied himself with fresh vigour to the Christian ministry, especially working for the conversion of the Moors. To this end he encouraged Thomas Aquinas to write his work Against the Gentiles. He instituted the teaching of Arabic and Hebrew in several houses of the friars. He also founded priories in Murcia (then still ruled by Arabs) and in Tunis. Additionally he went to help establish the Church in the recently conquered island of Mallorca. In 1256 Raymond, then eighty-one, was able to report that ten thousand Saracens had received Baptism.
Raymond died at the age of 100 in Barcelona in 1275 and was Canonised by Pope Clement VIII in 1601. He was buried in the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona.
Here is one of my first posts on the saints but it has a lot more detail of his life – St Raymond: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/saint-of-the-day-7-january/