Saint Raymond Nonnatus: The Iconography

In Cardona, Spain, the passing of St. Raymond Nonnatus, the Order of Blessed Mary of Mercy for the Redemption of Captives, Cardinal and Confessor, famous for his miracles and the sanctity of his life. However, his feast is observed on the 31st of August. – Roman Martyrology for August 26

Saint Raymond was a Mercedarian, one of an order of priests dedicated to ransoming Christians enslaved in North Africa. According to sources written some centuries later by the Mercedarians, he served in Algiers, where after spending all his funds on freeing slaves he worked the streets, preaching to Christians and Muslims alike. For this he was sentenced to severe punishments, including the padlocking of his mouth, as is shown in the picture at right. After eight months in prison he was himself ransomed by a team of Mercedarians and returned to Spain in 1239. The Pope named him a cardinal and invited him to Rome, but he died shortly after leaving his convent.

Pictures such as the two at right are typical – narrative images of the padlocking, or portraits in which he wears garb reserved for cardinals (here, the red biretta; elsewhere, the red mozzetta or half-cape).

Prepared in 2015 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University

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Caducho, Martirio de San Ramón Nonato (See description page)


Painting in Sant'Eustachio, Rome (See description page)

DATES

  • Feast day: August 31
  • Born 1204, Died 1240

HAGIOGRAPHY