After a long hiatus, Mrs. Imperial and her family visited Ponzo's again. She wanted to ask for Ginger's (RJ's sister, who used to be the operations manager of the resto but has since moved on to greener pastures as a Flight Attendant for Emirates Airlines -- Mrs. Imperial was very fond of her :) ) email address to thank her for the chocolates she sent her way.
As she is a frequent customer of Ponzo's, she and RJ got to talking about some of the developments in the Magallanes-Makati area like the exorbitant price of village stickers in San Lorenzo Village (where Monique's school is) and the environmental/health implications on Magallanes Village of the public school recently opened right behind the Parish.
Soon though, as most small talk is bound to lead to these days, conversation turned to my bulging belly and my impending delivery.
She asked when I was due and the circumstances of my would-be delivery (at least the ones we know so far) and was nice enough to say she'd be including me and Raya in her prayers. She also gave us the name of the Saint of Unborn Children, St. Raymond Nonnatus whom her mother introduced to her when she was about to have her first child. She said that novenas to St. Raymond never failed and it would help ensure a safe and sound birthing experience for Raya and Me.
As RJ and I didn't know anything about St. Raymond, we looked him up on the Net and found that he was made the Saint of Unborn Children because of his special birth experience.
St. Raymond Nonnatus was born in the year 1204 in Portella, Spain via cesarean section to his already-dead mother. In fact, his surname Non natus actually means "not born" in Latin.
He was earlier prepared for a life at the Court of Aragon and later on for commerce and trade as a farm manager to his father's lands but he chose to enter priesthood. He entered the Order of our Lady of Mercy for the Ransom of Captives and became a Mercederian, whose main mission was to ransom Christians held captive by Moors.
St. Raymond rose in the ranks of the order and was supposedly being eyed by many to replace the founder, St. Peter Nolasco, as ransomer. He was also said to be a zealous preacher which got him in a lot of trouble with the Mohammeden authorities of that time.
He was eventually held hostage when he ran out of money/estate to ransom more captives and was subjected to all kinds of torture and cruelty. It was even said that in order to prevent him from preaching, his captors bore a hole through his mouth and padlocked it.
Eventually though, he too was ransomed and he was able to return to Barcelona to become a cardinal under Gregory IX.
He died of fever in Cardona, on his way to Rome, on August 31st. He was 37 years old.
His is truly a compelling story and we want to thank Mrs. Imperial for sharing this beloved Saint with us. I know that a lot of factors may be beyond our control, especially during a time as dynamic as giving birth, but we believe prayers and faith will go a long way. Here's looking forward to the coming D-day. :)
Postscript: For a guide to prayers and novenas to St. Raymond Nonnatus, you may visit this site.