According to tradition, he was a native of Catalonia, Spain, who became a member of the Mercedarian Order founded to ransom Chrisitan captives of the Moors of North Africa. Ordained priest in 1222, he became master-general of the order and went to North Africa to carry out its work. There he was so distressed by the plight of the prisoners that, when his money ran out, he surrendered himself as a hostage to secure the freedom of just one more slave.
Raymond suffered in captivity under the Moors for many years and his mouth is said to have been padlocked to prevent him from preaching to his fellow captives. Eventually, he was ransomed by his order and in 1239 went home to Spain where he was nominated cardinal by Pope Gregory IX. He died near Barcelona on his way to Rome. Many miracles were attributed to him both in life and after his death.