Saint Raymond of Penafort
St. Raymond of Penafort (1175–1275) was born in Spain to the noble family of Aragon. As a child he received an excellent education and displayed a great love for the Blessed Mother. After studying and teaching philosophy and law he entered the Order of Preachers. He preached the Crusades and encouraged the faithful to defend their civilization from foreign threats. To aid his preaching, Raymond requested that his fellow Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas, write his epic Summa Contra Gentiles for the conversion of non-Catholics, especially Muslims. It is said that at least 10,000 Muslims were converted to the Catholic faith as a result of Raymond’s evangelistic labors. Together with King James of Aragon and St. Peter Nolasco he founded the Order of Our Lady of Ransom (Mercedarians), a group that worked to free Christians enslaved by the Moors. Known for his great mind and great sanctity, St. Raymond was the Pope’s personal confessor and close adviser. As a trained lawyer, he was also chosen to compile the Church's legal documents into one source of canon law which was then used for centuries. He also wrote a manual of moral theology for confessors. St. Raymond is famous for the miracle of sailing from the island of Majorca to Barcelona using his cape for a raft, in protest of the King of Aragon's refusal to dismiss his mistress. St. Raymond of Penafort is the patron of lawyers and canon lawyers. His feast day is January 7.
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