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The Catholic Defender: Blessed Raymond Lull and Doctor Illuminatus "Enlightened Doctor,"


Raymond worked most of his life to help spread the gospel. Indifference on the part of some Christian leaders and opposition in North Africa did not turn him from his goal. Three hundred years later Raymond’s work began to have an influence in the Americas.


Blessed Raymond belonged to the noble Lull family and was born at Palma on the island of Mallorca in 1236. At a very early age he became a page at the royal court; and before he was 30 years old he had been advanced to the position of marshal and high steward to King James of Mallorca.


Raymond worked all his life to promote the missions and died a missionary to North Africa.


Raymond was born at Palma on the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea. He earned a position in the king’s court there.


One day a sermon inspired him to dedicate his life to working for the conversion of the Muslims in North Africa. He became a Secular Franciscan and founded a college where missionaries could learn the Arabic they would need in the missions.


Without hesitation Blessed Raymond followed the call. He resigned his offices, left the royal court, and founded a college in which missionaries, particularly those who belonged to the Order of Friars Minor, should receive the necessary training in the languages of northern Africa.


He himself joined the Third Order of St Francis, and for nine years retired to the solitude of Mt Randa in order to prepare himself by prayer and study. God favored him with much heavenly inspiration and granted him extraordinary knowledge so that, in spite of his numerous undertakings he was able to write admirable things about the most difficult questions in philosophy and theology.


Retiring to solitude, he spent nine years as a hermit. During that time he wrote on all branches of knowledge, a work which earned him the title “Enlightened Doctor.”


Raymond then made many trips through Europe to interest popes, kings, and princes in establishing special colleges to prepare future missionaries.


He achieved his goal in 1311, when the Council of Vienne ordered the creation of chairs of Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldean at the universities of Bologna, Oxford, Paris, and Salamanca.


At the age of 79, Raymond went to North Africa in 1314 to be a missionary himself. An angry crowd of Muslims stoned him in the city of Bougie. Genoese merchants took him back to Mallorca, where he died. Raymond was beatified in 1514 and his liturgical feast is celebrated on June 30.


During the voyage Raymond regained consciousness for a time, but when the ship arrived near Mallorca, he breathed his last. A very great concourse of people gathered for his burial in the Franciscan church at Palma in Mallorca where he had joined the Third Order. Soon miracles were reported as occurring at the grave of the glorious martyr. Pope Leo X beatified him, and Mallorca chose Blessed Raymond Lull as its special patron.


Raymond worked most of his life to help spread the gospel. Indifference on the part of some Christian leaders and opposition in North Africa did not turn him from his goal. Three hundred years later Raymond’s work began to have an influence in the Americas. When the Spanish began to spread the gospel in the New World, they set up missionary colleges to aid the work. Saint Junípero Serra belonged to such a college.

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