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Raymond Nonnatus

1204-1240. Patron saint of midwives. Very little is known about him except what has survived in a sixteenth-century manuscript. He was born in Portello, Spain, and apparently delivered by Caesarean section after his mother's death in childbirth-hence his name “non natus” (“not born”). He was a member of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom which ransomed Christian prisoners on the Barbary coast of North Africa. The Muslims at times subjected him to gross ill-treatment. He persevered in his work, and on one occasion even surrendered himself as surety for the ransom of others. After his return to Spain, Gregory IX made him a cardinal (1239). He died at Cerdagne at the start of a journey to Rome.