St. Peter Nolasco Crossing the Mediterranean

Circa 1610-30
Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, Milan

This title is supplied by the basilica's label, and the identification of St. Peter Nolasco is surely correct. He wears the white habit of the Mercedarian order and his crossing the sea is a key activity of the Mercedarians, whose primary mission was to redeem Christian captives in Moslem lands.

But crossing the sea on one's cape is a miracle attributed to the Dominican saint Raymond of Peñafort, and such an exploit is not mentioned in Peter's vita in the Acta Sanctorum (January vol. 2 [1643], 981-90).

As he glides across the water, the saint says tu dominaris potestati maris, "Thou rulest the power of the sea." David addresses those words to God in Vulgate Psalm 88:10. Here the saint appears to be addressing them to Christ on the crucifix.

The Roman Martyrology records January 28 as the feast day of "St. Peter Nolasco, confessor, who founded the Order of Blessed Mary of Mercy for the redemption of captives. He went to sleep in the Lord on December 25."

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Read about St. Raymond of Peñafort.

Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.