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Peter Nolasco

c.1182-1249 OR 1256. Co-founder of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom (Mercedarians*). Born in Barcelona or Languedoc, probably of a merchant family, he lived a life later obscured by legend and falsified documents. Sometime between 1218 and 1234 (probably in the latter year) he established the Mercedarians on a constitution provided by a Dominican, Raymond of Penafort,* and with his assistance. In 1235 Gregory IX* approved the order under the Augustinian Rule, and King James of Aragon gave his help. The order worked in Spain and Africa to ransom Christians subjugated or terrorized by the Moors. Peter himself was imprisoned in Algiers. He died in Barcelona, and was canonized in 1628. His order now has about 1,000 members.