John of Matha, born of holy and noble parents at Fauçon in Provence, saw in a vision when he first offered the Sacrifice of the Mass to God that he was destined to redeem captives from the infidels. Therefore, in accordance with the divine prompting, he withdrew into a place of solitude where he met Felix of Valois, who had been living there for many years. There they renewed the fervour of their prayers, and admonished three times in dreams, set out for Rome and obtained from Pope Innocent III the approbation of the new order of the Most Holy Trinity for the Redemption of Captives.
The Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the Redemption of Captives
Then they built their first monastery in the diocese of Meaux, where Felix remained as superior. John, then, returned to Rome with some of his brethren, where Innocent gave them the house, church and hospital of Saint Thomas de Form is on the Coelian Hill.
Through letters sent to Miramolin, King of Morocco, the work of redemption was successfully begun. Then John went to Spain, a great part of which was oppressed under Saracen rule, created sympathy for the captives in the minds of all, built many hospitals, and redeemed many captives. He returned to Rome, worn out by his heavy labours, and seized with illness, died in the Lord on the sixteenth day before the Calends of January in 1213.
– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964