Make NO Mistake and Never Forget; Mothers are Women and Female is their Gender

 

A Mom & Her Son–Bound Forever
by Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Larry Peterson

I found myself writing this for Mother’s Day because the legal definition of “gender” has become controversial. I begin with a quote from Cardinal Giovanni Ravasi; President of the Pontifical Council of Culture: “The love of man and woman, capable of generating life, is a sign that points to God.”

The following comes from personal experience. My youngest brother, Johnny, had just turned two when Mom died. The previous six months she had been, for the most part, in the hospital. Johnny grew up without ever knowing his mom and her hugs or her voice or her caress. His ‘shrink,’ told him his “problems” with relationships were due to the fact he had lost his Mom as a baby. Johnny took his own life three years ago.

Bobby was six years old when  Mom died. He always had an anger in him that could expose itself to perceived provocations. He passed away suddenly, eleven years ago. His killer was congestive heart failure. I still think his heart had been irreparably broken at age six and it just took another forty years to give out.

Danny was ten. He is still fine, and we are in frequent contact.  I was the oldest, and my sister was second. Dad died a few years after Mom, and we tried to be a mom and a dad to our three brothers. We did our best, but we were in water way over our heads. We did survive as a family but, as you can see, having no Mom had profound consequences (the dad part I will leave for another day).

I move ahead 16 years to the birth of my daughter. Times were changing, and when Mary came along, I was present, and all decked out in my scrubs and sterile gloves (Prior to that time, Dads were not allowed into the delivery room).

I was sitting at the end of the delivery room table with my right hand holding the top of my wife’s head. I was looking up into a mirror watching the birth take place. And then, Doctor Butler began to lift his arms and in his hands was a baby. Our baby—a girl.

It seemed that almost instantly the nurse was next to me handing me, my daughter. Her face was still gooey, and her eyes were wide open. She was not crying but rather, she kept staring at me. Her eyes were as blue as the sky and as big as saucers. That was my moment, etched within my mind forever. A more profound moment was on the way.

Within moments baby Mary was being lifted from my hands and taken to her waiting Mom. Still lying on the delivery table, Loretta reached out for her baby. That was the moment I understood the power and intrinsic importance of a mom. A mother and her child are forever bound by an unbreakable bond that can only be felt between them. I also believe that dynamic is similar to every child that a mom gives birth too.

There are many moms who have, because of whatever circumstance and oftentimes out of love and humility, given their child up for adoption. In my heart of hearts, I do not believe any woman “happily” gives away her own child. Interestingly, the adoptive parents will generally love that child as if she or he was their very own and the children would assuredly love them back.

But, at some point in time, the children have a need arise within themselves to ‘find” their Birth Mom and/or Birth Dad. That is because an unbreakable bond is always there. No one can remove it or take it away or replace it. It is what it is.

For some, Gender Neutrality may be the “feel good” movement for the present moment. But it is a premise built on quicksand and defies all of the Natural Law. Pope St. John Paul II summed it up best: “God has assigned a duty to every man, the dignity of every woman.” 

Within those words are the inspiration for both men and women to defend what God has created.

Wishing all Moms, both living and passed on, a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

And please say a prayer for all those folks who cannot remember what having a Mom was like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Peter Nolasco; He founded The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy; aka the Mercedarians. This year they celebrate 800 years of sacrifice and service to others.

St. Peter Nolasco….en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Peter Nolasco was known for having as his most pronounced virtue that of ‘love of neighbor.’ It was said that people already knew of this when he was only a baby. The story was that while in his cradle, a swarm of bees landed on him, and formed a honey-comb on his right hand. He was never harmed. This may be true or simply “urban-legend” but, no matter what, Peter Nolasco’s prime, interior virtue was obvious to people even when he was just a baby.

Peter Nolasco was born in Castelnaudary ( located in southern France) in 1189. His well to do parents died when he was very young. They left Peter a substantial inheritance, and since this was the time in history when the Albigensian heresy was exploding throughout France, Peter took his money and headed to Barcelona to be as far away from the Albigensians as possible.

He was a teenager when he arrived in Barcelona and joined the army that was fighting the Albigensians in the Iberian Peninsula. This area included most of Spain and Portugal. The army was led by Simon de Monfort.

When King Peter II of Aragon was defeated, in the Battle of Muret, his six-year-old son, James I, was captured and Peter was appointed the child’s tutor. This gave Peter standing, and after making a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Montserrat, he began to display his charitable virtue.

His concern for captive Christians began to build, and he decided to establish a religious order dedicated to helping these victims of the Moors who were capturing and enslaving Christians by the thousands. He was often heard saying that he would gladly offer himself as ransom if he could.

Peter Nolasco began ransoming Christian captives in 1203. In 1218,  Raymond of Penafort started a lay organization for the purpose of ransoming slaves. Peter, who was an advocate for this, decided to start an organization with rules and guidelines made up of religious members under the patronage of Mary.

In 1218 Peter also formed a congregation of religious men which today, 800 years later,  is known as The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. The title is summed up in one word, Mercedarians. Besides the standard vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, the Mercedarians also take a fourth vow; they agree to exchange themselves to free captive ChristiansIn the First Constitutions of the Order, the Amerian Constitutions (1272): “… all the brothers of the Order must always be gladly disposed to give up their lives, if it is necessary, as Jesus Christ gave up his for us…”

St. Peter Nolasco never lost sight of the fact that he would join with the Blessed Virgin to advance his ministry. He knew that saving the captives could never be accomplished without help from the Mother of Jesus. Mary is linked to the program of liberation. She is the model for all redemptive work. He knew that Our Lady was what reinforced and guaranteed all of the apostolic works that would be undertaken.

St. Peter Nolasco discovered that Mary was the foundation of freedom and mercy. She is the sustenance and point of the liberation movement. So much so that the order founded by him is called The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.

From that point forward all Friars, Sisters, and the Third Order always considered Mary as the Mother of Freedom. She is the one who sustains and encourages the order with her ever continued and ongoing presence. The Blessed Mother came to Peter Nolasco and helped him realize that the mystery of God’s redemption is visible in the captivity and heartache of those held against their will. To this very day, they will offer themselves by trading their very selves for your freedom.

From the Mercedarian website:  orderofmercy.org

“Today, friars of the Order of Mercy continue to rescue others from modern types of captivity, such as social, political, and psychological forms. They work in jails, marginal neighborhoods, among addicts, and in hospitals. In the United States, the Order of Mercy gives special emphasis to educational and parish work.”

Pope Gregory IX gave the church’s official seal of approval to the Mercedarian order in 1230.

Peter Nolasco died on May 6, 1256. He was canonized a saint in 1628 by Pope Urban VIII.

St. Peter Nolasco, please pray for us all

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Please see other articles on members of The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy

St.Serapion     St. Peter Paschal   St. Mary de Cervellon  St. Raymond Nonnnatus

Peter Armengol

 

Choosing Government over God has a Difference; One is Death, and the other is Life

AP photo

(I chose not to put any photos of Alfie in here.  His parents deserve some privacy)

 

“I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life — from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages — is sacred because human life is created in the image and likeness of God.”

Pope St. John Paul II

 

By Larry Peterson

The saga of Alfie Evans sickened me. Except for two overriding factors, his death was unnecessary. First, the feigned necessity of his death is embedded within the secular practicality of a 21st-century  judicial system. Secondly, among many medical practitioners who lean on their own omniscient ability, it was in Alfie’s “best interests” to die. You see, they had to help him because he refused to do it on his own. He had become a “burden” to secularism.

I write this because I have experienced circumstances similar to Alfie’s parents. My wife was on life-support, but unlike Tom and Kate Evans, I had the task of allowing the machines to be turned off.  It was not a judge or a doctor or the courts or anything like that. It was ME,  the woman’s husband. The end result was different.

My wife, Loretta, had been ill for a long time and on April 6, 2002, she fell into a coma. By that evening she was on life support. There was a Catholic living will on file for each of us, and I signed a DNR (do not resuscitate). A DNR gave me control over life ending processes. Even though her final breaths were expected, signing the DNR was, for me, akin to signing a death warrant.

Although my wife was a middle-aged adult and Alfie was a baby, the parallels in each case are quite similar. Alfie, at the age of seven months, developed seizures and they caused him to go into a “semi-vegetative state.” Alfie did have brain function, but most doctors agreed that his condition (which they were not sure of) was incurable. Most importantly, his parent’s rights to try to save him were stripped from them by the courts.

We tried for three days to wean Loretta off the ventilator. Each time her breathing stopped in less than a minute. Six doctors told us it was “no-use.” On the third day, my grown children took turns going to their mom’s bedside to say their “good-byes.” One at a time they came from that room sobbing like babies. I was last and sat by her side, looking at her, holding her hand and saying whatever it was I was saying. Those words I do not remember. I do remember one word; I was called a “murderer” by someone in Loretta’s family.

Unlike Alfie’s parents, I had control over the machine that was doing her breathing (she had been on life-support for three weeks).  Three of the doctors were there and the chief-of-staff. I asked them to pray with us, and they all did. The machine was switched off, and the intubation tubes were removed. A minute passed by and she kept breathing. Then two minutes passed by and then five and ten and then one hour. The cardiologist said, “Don’t be fooled, she won’t make it.”

Three days later she was up in a room, and three weeks later she came home. She had earned the title of “The Miracle Woman of Northside.” Her recovery was not only baffling; it was unexplainable. Ironically, cancer killed her exactly one year later. The “murderer” comment was never retracted.

In Alfie’s case, his parents had no choice. They were invoking God along with countless others around the world.  The Pope had secured citizenship for Alfie, and the Italians were ready to transport him to Italy to be cared for. Unfortunately, in the world of the “nones,” secularists, and atheists, God is not part of the equation. He was the common denominator in ours.

Virtually every court in the U.K. ruled against the parent’s rights. The government and their “experts” knew best; Alfie must DIE. I cannot imagine standing by as my child’s life was taken from him by court order. It is incomprehensible to me.

So the state took away the parent’s right to protect their child. They subjugated Natural law and vanquished the very nucleus of any successful civilization, the family.  They pulled Alfie’s tube.  He lived for five days breathing on his own. Was that a message from above that those in charge should have tried harder?

Unfortunately for Alfie, his “quality of life” was not deemed worthy to move forward. Loretta kept breathing and did use oxygen intermittently. If the doctors were in charge of the breathing apparatus, they might have simply left it off when her breathing failed on the first day.

Unlike the Evans, we were able to take three days before we agreed to leave it off.  On the third day, she kept on breathing on her own and came out of the coma. Doctors do NOT know everything. They are definitely not equal to the God who created each and every one of them.

I can end this with one irrefutable fact. Tom and Kate Evans will go home, and when they close the door behind them, they will realize that little Alfie is gone—permanently. Therein lays the lonely heartache they will forever live with. You cannot understand that unless you too, have lived it.

Please pray for them both that within each other they find the strength to move on. What happened to them and their son was a terrible thing.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2018

St. Mary of Cervellon–Formed the Third Order of Our Lady of Ransom and is the Patroness of those Shipwrecked

Mary of Cervellon  wikipedia.org

By  Larry Peterson

She was born sometime in 1230, some think around December 1, and was baptized on December 8* in Santa Maria del Mar parish in Barcelona. Her name was Mary de Cervellon, and she was the daughter of a Spanish nobleman, William de Cervellon.

As a young woman, Mary began working in Saint Eulalia Hospital tending to the sick, the poor and also those who were prisoners. One day she heard a sermon given by Bernard de Corbarie, who was the superior of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Ransom, also known as Mercedarians. 

She was so moved by what she heard she vowed right then and there to do all she could to help alleviate the suffering and misery experienced by those who were prisoners of the Muslim Turks. Working at the hospital, Mary was able to come in contact with the great leaders of the Mercedarian order, including the order’s founder, St. Peter Nolasco.

Inspired by these pious people Mary, in the year, 1265, joined a small group of women who lived near the monastery. These ladies spent their lives in constant prayer and doing good works for those in need.

In due time the women asked for and received permission to form the Third Order of Our Lady of Ransom. In addition to the normal three vows of poverty,  chastity, and obedience they also vowed to pray for all Christian slaves. They were all given permission to wear the white habit of the Mercedarians and Sister Mary de Cervellon was elected their first Mother Superior. Sister Mary had such an empathy and devotion to the poor and needy that soon she began to be called Maria de Socros  (Mary of Help).

Mary de Cervellon passed away on Septemeber 19, 1290. During Mary’s life and after her death, there were people who swore that they saw Mary literally on the “wings of the wind”, reaching down and saving floundering ships from rough seas so they might stay their course and continue on their journey to free Christian prisoners from the Muslims.

A great devotion grew in her honor and it was given approval by Pope Innocent XII in 1692. She is the Patroness  of those shipwrecked and paintings of Mary show her with a ship cradled in her arms as she saves it from the roaring seas around it.

Mary de Cervellon’s body lies incorrupt to this very day in the Mercedarian Basilica in Barcelona, Spain.

St. Mary de Cervellon, please pray for us all.

 

The Wonderful Legend of St. Peter Paschal

Peter Paschal with a young Jesus as Altar Boy
aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

Peter Paschal, was born in Valencia on Spain’s east coast, in the year 1227. Peter’s parents were devout Mozarabs (Iberian Christians) who managed to live under Muslim rule. They did this by paying a yearly tax, known as a jizyah. This tax was even collected as a means of sparing the life of certain non-Muslims living in the community depending upon whether or not the ruling Imam decided a certain person deserved death. The Mozarabs and the Muslim Arabs co-existed and even spoke a similar language known as Mozarabic.

The founder of the Mercedarians, St. Peter Nolasco,  was very good friends with Peter’s family and he and his Mercedarian companions would oftentimes stay at Peter’s home when they were on a mission to free Christian captives. This exposure to these pious men helped to instill in young Peter a deep sense of piety. Combined with the virtuous, charitable and caring influence of his parents, Peter Paschal, grew into a deeply devoted servant of God.

Ironically, the primary influence in Peter’s educational journey was a teacher that Peter’s parents had ransomed from the Muslim Moors years before. The young man traveled with him to Paris and, under his guidance, studied, preached and taught, developing a fine reputation as a learned and pious man.

Peter then returned to Valencia and Peter Nolasco became his spiritual advisor. After another year of preparation, he became a full member of The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, aka Mercedarians. It was time for him to begin redeeming captive Christians.

Peter Paschal had a brilliant mind and James I, the King of Aragon, appointed him as a preceptor (teacher) of his son, Sanchez. Sanchez was so influenced by Peter that he himself became a Mercedarian priest and, in 1262, was made the Archbishop of Toledo. Since Prince Sanchez was too young to be consecrated, his teacher, Peter Paschal, was appointed to govern the diocese and was consecrated as the Bishop of Granada, which was under the control of the Muslims.

As Bishop of Grenada, Peter Paschal, preached tirelessly about Christianity. He became known for his intense determination and zeal in redeeming captive, Christian slaves who had been imprisoned by the Moors. His preaching was so potent that many Muslims began to embrace the doctrines of Jesus Christ and convert to Christianity. The followers of Mahomet (commonly referred to as Mohammad) began to harbor an intense and growing anger toward Peter.

Besides preaching, Peter not only continually ransomed captive Christians from the Moors, he also comforted those imprisoned and preached the gospel to the infidels. His ability to reconcile apostates and others and bring them to the church was the reason he was finally arrested and placed in a dark dungeon. Orders were given that no one was allowed to speak to Peter Paschal.

Peter was held in prison and constantly treated cruelly and with disdain. But, strange as it may seem, he was given permission to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day. And this is where the wonderful legend of St. Peter Paschal springs to life.

One morning, while preparing for Mass, Peter realized he had no altar server. He usually was able to have one of the prisoners he had converted serve for him. But this day he could find no one to serve. Suddenly, a little boy about the age of five appeared before the priest. The boy was dressed in the clothes of a slave and asked Peter what he was looking for. Peter told him he needed an altar server.

The boy told Bishop Peter he would gladly serve Mass for him if he would let him. Peter asked him who he was and the boy said, “I will tell you who I am when you have finished Mass.”

After Mass was finished, Peter asked the boy a few questions and was amazed at the wisdom coming forth from the child. Then he asked the boy, “Tell me, who is Jesus Christ?”

The boy answered: “I am Jesus Christ; it is I Who was crucified for your salvation and for that of the whole world; look at My hands, and My feet, and My side, and you will recognize the wounds I received during My passion. Because you have of your own choice remained a prisoner in order to procure freedom for my captive children, and because, to obtain their freedom, you spent money sent to procure your own, you have made Me your prisoner.”

As mysteriously as He had appeared, the little boy disappeared. Peter Paschal was filled with an indescribable joy he could never have imagined. Jesus, as a little boy, had been the Bishop’s altar server.

The Muslims sensed and actually revered the sanctity of their prisoner. They told him if he would never say anything against Mohammad they would give him his freedom. He said he could never make such a promise. Shortly thereafter, as Bishop Peter Paschal was saying his Thanksgiving after Mass, a Muslim executioner came up from behind him and cut off his head.   The date was January 6, 1300.

Bishop Peter Paschal was beatified and canonized by Pope Clement X on August 14, 1670.

St. Peter Paschal–please pray for us.

 

 

Meet the Saint who Was “Not Born”; He is also the Patron of Childbirth and Pregnant Women. His name is St. Raymond Nonnatus

St. Raymond Nonnatus; Mercedarian: orderofmercy.org

                                                                                                                       By Larry Peterson

The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, more commonly known as the Mercedarians, was founded in the year 1218 by St. Peter Nolasco. His purpose was the redemption of Christians captured and imprisoned by the Muslims. To become a Mercedarian requires an additional commitment on the part of those wanting to join the order. It is known as the “fourth ” vow.

In addition to the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Mercedarians also vow to willingly trade their life for another who is in danger of losing their faith. What follows is a brief visit into the life of one of the original Mercedarians, St. Raymond Nonnatus.

Raymond came into the world in the year 1204. His birth was anything but normal. His mother died while she was giving birth to her son. His father is credited with saving the baby’s life. I cannot imagine what this man was going through or the emotions that were flooding him. His wife had died before his eyes, yet he had the presence of mind to remove his unborn child from her womb with his own dagger.

He and his wife had agreed on naming the child,  Raymond. This was done by the child’s dad. However,  the last name of Nonnatus may seem a bit strange. That is because it is Latin and it means, “not born.” Raymond became known as the child who was “not born.”

Raymond’s father owned several farms, and he wanted Raymond to manage one of them. But Raymond was obviously drawn to religious life. He possessed a deep devotion to God and the Blessed Virgin. Nearby was the ancient chapel of St. Nicholas, and he would frequent there to pray and meditate. Eventually, his father realized that his son would not be a sheep-herder or farmer and gave in to the boy’s wishes to join the Mercedarians in Barcelona

Raymond’s life was now on track for him to fulfill his God-given destiny. Empowered by his father’s permission, Raymond told the Mercedarians that he had personally taken a vow of perpetual virginity and was determined to join the Mercedarian order. He was accepted and (this is not definite) it is said that St. Peter Nolasco, the founder of the Mercedarians, is the one who presented Raymond with the Order’s habit. The young man was probably ordained a priest in his early twenties although there is some uncertainty as to the exact date.

In 1224, Father (aka Friar) Raymond began his first redemption journey to Valencia which had been conquered by the Moors. Raymond Nonnatus managed to gain the freedom of  233 captive Christians. He was just beginning his work.

In 1226,  he traveled to Algiers, in Northern Africa. Offering to remain behind as a replacement prisoner for the Moors, he managed to free another 140 captives. Three years later he went back to Algiers again. This time he was accompanied by his friend, Friar Serapion.

Friar Serapion, after having fought alongside Richard the Lion-Hearted during the Crusades,  became a Mercedarian. He had decided he would rather surrender his life for captives rather than kill infidels. The two of them managed to free 150 captives from slavery on that journey. In 1232,  Raymond and Serapion managed to free 228 captives from the prisons and dungeons of Tunis.

St. Raymond’s last redemption was in 1236. It was in Algiers again, and this visit is not known for the number of freed prisoners. Rather, it is known as the torture Raymond was forced to endure. Having exhausted all funds, Raymond stayed behind as a hostage. He spent his time in the dungeons preaching the message of Jesus and Christianity. This flew into the heart of the Muslim teachings, and his captors would have none of it.

Raymond was taken away, and they used a searing iron to bore holes through his upper and lower lips. Then they placed a padlock through the holes in an attempt to keep the suffering man quiet. The padlocks remained in place for eight months at which time ransom was received for Raymond’s release. He was returned to Spain in 1239.

Raymond Nonnatus died toward the end of August, 1240; the exact day is unknown. He was 36 years-old. Tradition has it that the town, the local count, and the friars all claimed his body. They resolved the dispute by placing Raymond’s body across the back of a blind mule. The mule was let loose and wherever it stopped would be Raymond’s burial place.

The mule ambled slowly to the chapel where Raymond Nonnatus had prayed so frequently as a teenager. That is where he was buried and many miracles at the site have been attributed to his intercession.

St. Raymond Nonnatus was canonized a saint by Pope Alexander VII in 1657. He is the patron saint of childbirth, children, and pregnant women. He is also patron for priest defending the seal of confession.

St. Raymond Nonnatus, please pray for us and all of the unborn.

copyright©LARRY PETERSON 2018

A “Gangbanger’s” Journey to Sainthood—Meet Peter Armengol

St. Peter Armengol by Vincenzo Carducho

By Larry Peterson

Imagine being a dad with a teenage son who has seemingly turned his back on you. He has rejected the values you have worked so hard to instill in him and he does not seem to care about anything but his own selfish wants. You wonder how this could be.

He is 19 years old and you have not seen him in over a year. A sense of despair has gripped you. You are alone in your living room. You fall to your knees and begin to pray for your boy.

Besides your wife and fourteen-year-old daughter, you have other things on your mind. You are a respected Police Chief in a city of two million people where a major    political convention is scheduled to take place in two days. You have been asked by the Police Commissioner to coordinate the security forces on the perimeter of the convention center. You have a job to do and right now it takes precedence over other things.

At 6 p.m. on the first night of the convention, protesters begin massing on the east side of the center. You can see that they are well organized and plan to create mayhem. At 9 p.m. the crowd numbers several thousand and the screaming and yelling is getting intense. Suddenly, the crowd, urged on by several masked protesters, surges forward and then breaks into a charge.

Dressed in riot gear, you are standing at the forefront of your men and in your hand is a taser. One man is charging right at you when suddenly he stops short, falls to his knees, and drops his hands to his side. You hurry up to him and yank off his mask. You are stunned because you are looking down at your son. He is crying and telling you he is sorry. You lift him to you and you hug each other. The surging crowd, witnessing this unexpected turn of events, stops and becomes quiet.

Does that sound far-fetched?  If so, let us now travel back 700+ years to a day when something like this really did happen. And even though it may be 700 years ago, people then were like people now when it comes to their wants and needs and emotions and when it comes to family; especially when it comes to family.

Arnold Armengol was a member of the Spanish hierarchy. His son, Peter, in spite of being given the finest education and upbringing, rejected all of that and fell into the secular trap of self-centeredness, self-gratification, and outright debauchery. He even joined a band of criminals that preyed on people traveling up into the mountains. Peter was so good at this work he eventually became the gang leader.

His dad, part of the royal hierarchy, was asked by King Jaime of Aragon to lead him on a journey to Montpellier so he might meet with the King of France. The King had heard of the brigands that preyed on mountain travelers and wanted to be prepared for this.

As Arnold Armengol led the King’s entourage through the mountain passes they were attacked by a band of highwaymen. As the robbers charged toward them. Armengol led his men in a counterattack. With his sword drawn he headed directly to the leader of the pack. They were about to engage each other when the robber fell to his knees. He had recognized his father and with tears streaming down his face, prostrated himself at the feet of his dad and handed over his sword.

Peter Armengol, repentant and seeking mercy, appealed to King James I and received a pardon. He was filled with shame and, heeding the graces offered to him by God, entered a Mercedarian Monastery in Barcelona. The mission of the Mercedarians, founded by St. Peter Nolasco, was to ransom Catholics captured by the Muslims. Peter excelled at this task and, over a period of eight years, managed to negotiate the freedom of many hostages from the Saracens.

Friar Peter then headed to Africa with Friar William Florentino. His goal was to ransom Christians. On arrival in a place called Bugia, he heard about 18 Christian children held hostage by the Mohammedans. They were under the threat of death if they did not renounce Christianity. Friar Peter offered himself in exchange for the hostages. The captors agreed but warned Peter that if the ransom was not paid on time he would suffer brutal torture and death.

The arrival of the agreed ransom and Friar Peter’s release were scheduled for a certain day. The ransom never arrived. Peter was immediately put to torture and endured this for days on end. The Moors, tired of Friar Peter being alive, accused him of blaspheming Mohammad. He was sentenced to be hanged.

Friar Peter was hanged from a tree. His body was left there for the birds of prey to feed on. Six days later Friar William arrived with the ransom. The Moors refused it and told Friar William that Peter was already dead for six days and his rotted corpse was still hanging from the tree. Distraught, William went to recover his brother Mercedarian’s body.

William left and headed to the execution site. As he approached he noticed that Peter’s body seemed to be intact. In fact, there was a fragrance of flowers in the air. William slowly approached the body of Peter. The man who was supposedly dead for six days began to speak. He explained how the Blessed Virgin had come to him and was holding  him up with her precious hands so his body would not hang on the rope.

Peter Armengol, when recalling the miracle of his hanging, told his Mercedarian brothers that the happiest days of his life were those six days that he hung from the gallows supported by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Peter’s neck, broken from the hanging, remained in a twisted position for the rest of his life and he always had a sickly complexion. Seven documented miracles were attributed to him while he was still alive.

Peter Armengol was canonized a saint on April 8, 1687 by Pope Innocent XI. On this Father’s Day we might also remember how his dad, Arnold Armengol, prayed unceasingly for the safe return of his son. His prayers were surely answered,  a lesson for us all.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2018 (originally 2016)