2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Raymond of Peñafort
St. Raymond of Peñafort was born in Catalonia and was educated at the school of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Barcelona, where he later taught philosophy. He left Spain in 1210 to study law at Bologna, where he became a doctor of law and a successful lawyer. Gregory IX brought him to Rome in 1230, and Raymond became the pope's confessor and the codifier of his decretals. Raymond also wrote Summa de poenitentia, a treatise on confession that influenced the imposition of penances throughout the Middle Ages. He became a Dominican and compiled the first collection of cases of conscience at the request of the order's general. Having refused the see of Tarragona, Raymond went home to Spain in 1236 for his health and began to preach against the Moors. Two years later, he was named general of the Dominicans, a post he resigned in 1240 to convert the Jews and the Muslims. He aided St. Peter Nolasco in establishing the Mercerdarians, who ransomed Christians form the Muslims and worked toward the conversion of Muhammedans. Raymond taught Hebrew and Arabic to missionaries because he thought it was important to preach to Jews in Hebrew and to Muslims in Arabic. He also established missionary schools to foster this practice. He urged St. Thomas Aquinas to write Summa contra gentes to promulgate the practice. In the XV Century, Chaucer reworked Raymond's teaching in "The Parson's Tale." Raymond died, possibly 100 years old, in 1275. Requests for his canonization began immediately after his death but were not heeded until 1601.
Karen Rae Keck
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