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St. Peter Nolasco

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Feastday: January 28
Birth: 1189
Death: 1256

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With St. Raymond of Penafort, founder of the Order of Mercedarians, the religious community which sent members as ransom for Christian prisoners in the hands of the Saracens. Details of his life are uncertain, but he was probably a native of Languedoc, France. After taking part in the crusade against the heretic Albigensians of southern France, he became a tutor of King James I of Aragon and then settled at Barcelona. There he became friends with St. Raymond of Penafort, and in 1218, with the support of James I, they laid the foundation for the Mercedarians, devoted to the ransoming of Christian captives. Twice Peter went to Africa to serve as a captive, and it was reported that during one journey to Granada and Valencia he won the release from Moorish jails of some four hundred captive Christians. Retiring in 1249, he was followed as head of the order by William of Bas. He was canonized by Pope Urban VIII in 1628. His feast day is now confined to local calendars.

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