Which Saint Raymond is the City of San Ramon Named After?

San Ramon in Contra Costa County — smack dab in the heart of the San Ramon Valley and the headquarters of Chevron and 24-Hour Fitness – has a population of more than 65,000 and isn’t named after Saint Raymond of Pennafort.

Saint Raymond of Pennafort, a Dominican friar, is the patron saint of lawyers. He was born near Barcelona around 1175. He received degrees in both civil law and canon law and wrote the “code” laid down by Pope Gregory IX, a part of church law until 1917.

Nor is San Ramon named after Raymond Nonnatus, a fellow Spaniard and contemporary of the other St. Raymond. His name – nonnatus, Latin for “not born”  – comes from him being delivered by Caesarean section from his dead mother. He is the patron saint of childbirth, midwives, children and pregnant women.

He was a member of the Mercedarian order, which was created to ransom Christian captives from the Moors.

After traveling to Algeria to seek the release of captives, Nonnatus ran out of money and offered himself as a hostage.

His proselytizing was an irritant to the Moors who subjected him to various tortures, like running the gauntlet. He was sentenced to impalement but the sentence was commuted in the hope that would yield a bigger ransom.

However, to stop him from preaching Christianity, his lips were pierced with a red-hot iron and closed with a padlock.

San Ramon didn’t even receive its name from Sebastian Vizcaino on his voyage up the California coast in late 1602 and early1603.

The modern San Ramon came into existence in 1850, the “San” was added sometime around then.

Previously, the location was simply called ‘Ramon,” after a local sheepherder.


Filed under: California History

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