Blessed Virgin Appeared to Saint Peter Nolasco
Saint Peter Nolasco felt powerless to help the Christian slaves since he had no money left. At this point, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him saying, “Find for me other men like yourself, an army of brave, generous, unselfish men, and send them into the lands where the children of the Faith are suffering.”
Saint Peter Nolasco Founder
After his vision, Saint Peter went to see St. Raymond or Pennafort, asking him to help convince King James I of Aragon to support a new order. His hopes were realized on August 10, 1218 when Saint Peter Nolasco and two other men became the first members of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom. The new order was dedicated to recovering and helping the enslaved Christians. All the men of the order promised to deliver themselves into captivity if necessary, in exchange for the Christians.
The Order of Our Lady of Ransom Spread
Saint Peter Nolasco’s order spread quickly. Saint Peter and the other brothers visited all of Christian Spain, enlisting new members and collecting donations to pay ransoms.
When they collected enough funds to pay the ransoms, Saint Peter Nolasco began negotiating with the slave traders and owners. They traveled to Andalusia, Turis, and Morocco, freeing shiploads of Christians. In the process of recovering the Christians, Saint Peter Nolasco also converted many Moors.
Saint Peter Nolasco Died on Christmas
On the evening of December 25, 1256, Saint Peter Nolasco died after a lengthy illness. He was canonized in 1628 by Pope Urban VIII.