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Barcelona, Spain (1218)

   
History

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Our Lady of Ransom

       
  Barcelona, Spain (1218)  

Summary

The Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Peter, to his confessor, Raymund of Pennafort, and to King James of Aragon, and through these three men established a work of the redemption of captives. She desired the establishment of the Mercedarian religious order. (derives from the Spanish word for mercy - merced) Its members would seek to free Christian captives and offer themselves, if necessary, as an exchange.

       

Timeline

1189

Saint Peter Nolasco is born at Mas-des-Saintes-Puelles, near Castelnaudary, Languedoc, France.

1214

At the age of twenty-five he took a vow of chastity and signed over his vast estates to the Church.

August 1, 1218

The Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Peter, to his confessor, Raymund of Pennafort, and to the king, and through these three men established a work of the redemption of captives. She desired the establishment of the Mercedarian religious order. (derives from the Spanish word for mercy - merced) Its members would seek to free Christian captives and offer themselves, if necessary, as an exchange. The complete name of this order is: Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Ransom of Captives (OdeM).

August 10, 1218

The king went to the cathedral for a Mass celebrated by the bishop of Barcelona. Saint Raymund went up into the pulpit and narrated his vision. The king sought the blessing of the bishop for the plan, and the bishop bestowed the habit on Saint Peter and two others, who vowed to give themselves as a hostage if necessary.

Jan 17, 1235

The Order was legally constituted at Barcelona by King James of Aragon was established in Spain and later approved by Gregory IX under the name of Our Lady of Mercy. St. Peter was the first superior, with the title of Commander-General; he also filled the office of Ransomer, a title given to the monk sent into the lands subject to the Moors to arrange for the ransom of prisoners.

1249

St. Peter resigned his superiorship; he was succeeded by Guillaume Le Bas.

Dec 25, 1258

St. Peter dies.

April 4, 1615

A feast day was instituted and observed on September 24th, first in the Mercedarian Order, then everywhere in Spain and France.

Sept 30, 1628

Pope Urban VIII canonized St. Peter Nolasco

1687

A plague of locusts was banished from Barcelona through the intercession of the Virgin of Mercy, and the miracle has been celebrated ever since – with Barcelona's biggest and noisiest of festivals.

Feb 22, 1696

The feast day (Sept 24) was finally extended to the entire Church by Innocent XII.

1730

Our Lady of Ransom was proclaimed "Patroness of the Peruvian Lands" and in 1823 "Patroness of the Armies of the Republic."

Sept 24, 1921

On the first centennial of the nation's independence, the image was solemnly crowned and received the title of "Grand Marshall of Peru" on the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, since then declared a national holiday, when every year the army renders homage to her high military rank.

 

The name for the Marian commemoration on September 24 was changed to 'Our Lady of Mercy' after Vatican II.


Photo Gallery

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Our Lady of Ransom - Barcelona, Spain (1218)
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Our Lady of Ransom - Barcelona, Spain (1218)
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Our Lady of Ransom - Barcelona, Spain (1218)
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Our Lady of Ransom - Barcelona, Spain (1218)
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St. Peter Nolasco (statue in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome)


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The Vision of St Peter Nolasco - Francisco de Zurbaran 1629; Oil on canvas, 179 x 223 cm; Museo del Prado, Madrid
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The companion-piece (see previous image) was commissioned by the Mercedarian Monastery in Seville. In his vision Peter of Nolasco, in the white robe of his Order, sees the New Jerusalem showing by an angel. The heavenly city with its tower resembles to contemporary Avila.
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St. Peter Nolasco
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St. Raymond Nonnatus joined the Mercedarians under St. Peter Nolasco at Barcelona, succeeded Peter as chief ransomer, and went to Algeria to ransom slaves. He remained as hostage for several slaves when his ransom money ran out and was sentenced to be impaled when the governor learned that he had converted several Mohammedans. He escaped the death sentence because of the ransom he would bring, but was forced to run the gauntlet. He was then tortured for continuing his evangelizing activities but was ransomed eight months later by St. Peter Nolasco.
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The official shield of the Mercedarian Order

Description of the Virgin

She is dressed all in white: over her long tunic she wears a scapular with the shield of the order imprinted breast high. A cloak covers her shoulders and her long hair is veiled by a fine lace mantilla. Some images have her standing, with the child in her arms, or carrying two bags of coins for use in ransoming Christians imprisoned by Moors. In yet others he is shown with her arms extended showing a royal scepter in her right hand and in the left some open chains, a symbol of liberation.


Messages


The Virgin Mary appeared first to Saint Peter Nolasco, saying that She desired the establishment of a religious Order bearing the name of Her mercy. Its members would seek to free Christian captives and offer themselves, if necessary, as an exchange.

Click here to read the messages given to St. Peter Nolasco.



Church Approval

No formal investigation was performed by the Church to confirm this apparition. The Order of Mercedarians was approved by Gregory IX under the name of Our Lady of Mercy. A feast day was instituted and observed on September 24th, first in this Order of Our Lady, then everywhere in Spain and France. It was finally extended to the entire Church by Innocent XII.

Prayers

Our Lady of Mercy

Mother of Mercy! Virgin Mary blest
Within whose chaste, young bosom hearts find peace
And finding, know the real content of Rest;
The utter fullness that need never cease
Once one has known the safety of this breast;
Once and then many times when one has erred
And seeks mongst men a pity in the face;
An understanding in the stead of squared
Contempt blunt-meted out from every place.

To whom, then, can we turn and quickly go
Assured of mercy and the mother-strength
To lift us up! To whom, then, can we show
The contrite heart; the firm resolve at length
To keep our equilibrium of soul?
.... oh, foolish question uttered by all men
While Mary's heart-pulse throbs to be their goal
And bleeds its mercy ever and again!

Peg Du Bal
Robert, Cyril. Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1946.

Mother of Mercy

I walked in darkness, yet felt no fear;
For through the void I knew her near.
She bound my wounds that lightless day
And cooled my fever midst battle's fray.
Not only I have seen her there,
But many others through painful tear
Have felt her tender, soothing, healing hand,
Looked long and clearly into eyes that understand
The pain and anguish of death to come,
For man did this to her only Son.

F.W. Heinkle
Robert, Cyril. Mary Immaculate: God's Mother and Mine.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1946.


Books

Guérin, Paul. Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 11;

Shea, John Gilmar . Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

THE ORDER OF BLESSED VIRGIN MARY OF MERCY (1218-1992): A Historical Synthesis Historical Institute of the Mercedarian Order Rome 1997

Brodman, James William. Ransoming Captives in Crusader Spain:The Order of Merced on the Christian-Islamic Frontier. 1986


Links

The Shrine of Our Lady of Ransom

The Mercedarian Order

 

 


 
   
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