Francisco Pacheco 1564-1644
The Last Communion of St Peter Nolasco
Or The Last Communion of Saint Raymond Nonnatus
Oil on Canvas
249 x 204 cm
Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham
In 1600, Francisco Pacheco and Alonso Vázquez were commissioned to decorate the large cloister of the Mercedarian convent of Seville with a series of pictures representing the lives of the founders of the order, Saint Peter Nolasco and Saint Raymond Nonnatus
It is not clear whether the subject of the painting is the last communion of Saint Peter or Saint Raymond
Saint Peter Nolasco was canonised in 1655. St Raymond was canonised in 1681
The two saints were not canonised according to the ordinary procedure but through the historically extraordinary channel called the "canonization equivalent"
In "L'Osservatore Romano" on October 12, 2013 by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the causes of saints explained:
"For such a canonization, according to the teaching of Benedict XIV, three elements are required: an ancient tradition of devotion, the constant and common attestation of trustworthy historians on the virtues or martyrdom, and the uninterrupted fame of miracles. ...
If these conditions are satisfied - again according to the teaching of pope Prospero Lambertini - the supreme pontiff, by his authority, can proceed with the 'canonization equivalent,' meaning the extension to the universal Church of the recitation of the divine office and the celebration of the Mass [in honor of the new saint], 'without any definitive formal sentence, without any preliminary juridical process, without having carried out the usual ceremonies.'"
Before 1758, there were 12 cases of such canonisations in the period 1740 to 1758:
Romuald (canonized in 1595), Norbert (1621), Bruno (1623), Peter Nolasco (1655), Raymond Nonnatus (1681), Stephen of Hungary (1686), Margaret of Scotland (1691), John of Matha and Felix of Valois (1694), Gregory VII (1728), Wenceslaus of Bohemia (1729), Gertrude of Helfta (1738).
The current legislation on beatification and canonisation is based above all on the special work of Prospero Lambertini/Pope Benedict († 1758), De servorum Dei beatificatione, et beatorum canonizatione , the Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister (January 25, 1983), and the Normae servandae in inquisitionibus ab Episcopis faciendis in Causis Sanctorum, in AAS 75 (1983) 396-404.(February 7, 1983) published during the pontificate of John Paul II and the Instruction Sanctorum mater of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints (May 17, 2007)