St. Raymond Nonnatus, Patron of Expectant Mothers, Midwives, and Newborn Babies
The saint of the day for August 31 is St. Raymond Nonnatus.
Raymond was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain in 1204, the son of wealthy parents. He was delivered by cesarean section when his mother died in childbirth. Hence his name non natus (not born). In his childhood, he seemed to find pleasure only in his devotions and serious duties. His father, sensing that Raymond was drawn to religious life, ordered him to manage one of the family farms. Raymond readily obeyed but spent his time with the shepherds and workers, studying and praying until his father abandoned the idea of making his son a worldly success.
Raymond later joined the Mercederians, which was founded by St. Peter Nolasco, who devoted to ransoming Christians captured by the Moors. He succeeded Peter as chief ransomer and went to Algeria to ransom slaves. He remained as hostage for several slaves when his money ran out and was sentenced to be impaled when the governor learned that he had converted several Mohammedans. He escaped the death sentence because of the ransom he would bring, but was forced to run the gauntlet. He was then tortured for continuing his evangelizing activities but was ransomed eight months later by Peter Nolasco.
On his return to Barcelona, he was appointed Cardinal by Pope Gregory IX. He died the following year in 1240 and was canonized in 1657.
Patronage: childbirth; children; expectant mothers; falsely accused people; fever; infants; midwives; newborn babies; obstetricians; pregnant women.