Dubbed as nonnatus (unborn) because he was removed from his dead mother’s womb via a Caesarian section, Saint Raymond began his life in Catalonia, Spain. He spent his early years with his earthly father, but felt he was called to spend his life serving God.
When he was in his early teens, Saint Raymond joined the Mercedarian Order. In his servitude, he quickly proved himself to be loyal to the church, persuasive and willing to take on a difficult cause. The order decided that he could serve the church best as a diplomat, so they sent him to Algiers in order to ransom Christian slaves.
He was so passionate about his mission that he once put himself up for collateral when he ran out of funds. Saint Raymond secured the release of a prominent slave by becoming a slave until more funds could be secured from the church.
During his imprisonment he converted a few devout Muslim guards to Christianity. Naturally, his uninvited solicitations infuriated the native Muslim people who saw themselves as being more than generous in allowing an infidel to live and conduct business unmolested amongst them. He was taken before the leaders and condemned to death.
In Saint Raymond’s view, death was a small rice to pay for helping a few heathen to see the light, so he joyfully prepared himself for martyrdom. At the last-minute, the leaders reduced his sentence. Rather than execution, Saint Raymond would run a gauntlet. In addition, because it was his mouth that caused some of the guards to reject their native faith, his lips would be pierced with a hot iron poker and a padlock inserted.
It was from this tortuous set of circumstances that the legend later arose that said that Saint Raymond had the power to shut peoples’ mouths and stop slander, gossip or dangerous speech of any kind.
Eight months after he was finally released from prison, Saint Raymond returned to Spain. He remained there preaching and teaching for quite some time. Then one day, he was called to Rome to accept the position of Cardinal. Sadly, he died en route at the age of 36.