|Pere Nolasc (c. 1180/1182-1245) was born in a farmhouse of the suburbs of Barcelona, where there had come from Occitan the grandfather, Obert Onolasc, and the father, Bernard Onolasc, about 1150, taking advantage of the good conditions that there had offered the count of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer IV to all those who wanted to immigrate to repopulate the New Catalonia. |
Barcelona was counting then approximately forty thousand inhabitants and was an active commercial port with the whole Mediterranean.
The Onolasc were devoting themselves to the trade and this one was Pere's profession, for what in his trips to the Islamic cities of Spain he knew directly the situation of the Christian slaves.
In 1203 he sold all his goods and went to the Islamic city of Valencia and paid the rescue of three hundred slaves. On returning to Barcelona, it was established in the Hospital of Saint Eulalie, where he was taking care of the poor; and once a year, with the accumulated alms, he was doing a trip to the Islamic territories for liberate more captives.
In 1218 he did a pilgrimage to Montserrat, who marked the discernment of his vocation. This way, the night from August 1 to August 2, 1218, already in Barcelona, he conceived the idea of instituting an order dedicated to the redemption of captives.