St. Peter Armengol
Memorial: April 27
Patron for the conversion of the youth.
The traditional records about his life tell us that he was born in La Guardia del Prats, in the Province of Tarragona, around the mid-thirteenth century. In his youth he displayed a violent temper and rebelliousness against everyone; eventually, he clashed with the armed forces of King James I, for which he was sentenced to death.
He begged for clemency, and because of the meritorious service of his father, who was from the noble family of the Armengols, he was pardoned and entered the Order of Mercy, distinguishing himself by his strong penitential spirit and his courage in promoting the ransom of the captives, so much so that he participated in serveral of them. In the redemption of the 1266, he was appointed redeemer with Fr. Guillermo de Florencia, traveling as far as Béjaïa, on the coast of Algeria. It is said that 118 captives were ransomed in this redemption. But once they were prepared to embark and go back to Barcelona, news arrived of a group of 20 youths who were desperate to be set free and tempted by the lure of their owner's promises, and had ended up denying their Christian faith. The two redeemers deliberated, and chose Br. Peter Armengol as the hostage.
When the price of ransom did not arrive by the appointed time, he suffered martyrdom by being hung from a tree. Nevertheless, he did not die, but when Fr. Guillermo finally arrived with the ransom, he discovered the saintly redeemer still alive, which he attributed to the protection of the Virgin Mary -- who sustained him on the gallows. The iconography of this saint presents him, for this reason, with a noose around his neck.
After returning to his convent, he led a life of great penance and austerity, for which he was venerated throughout his life. He died at the Mercedarian convent of La Guardia del Prats in 1304. His relics are preserved to this day in the hermitage of his native town.
Pope Innocent XI confirmed his immemorial cult on March 28, 1686. The following year, permission was granted for the recitation of his office and the celebration of his proper Mass. His name was also included in the Roman Martyrology on October 14, 1688.