Devotion to Our Lady of Mercy

Q: Tell me about devotions to Our Lady of Mercy.

A: Our Lady of Mercy has devotions all over Spain and Latin America, the USA as well. The title reminds of the 1218 apparition asking for the ransom of Christians (mercede) who sell prisoners to Arabs (Saracens) occupying Southern Spain and Northern Africa. The title was promoted by the congregation of the Mercedarians: a feast in her honor was proclaimed in 1615 to commemorate the apparition. Until 1961 celebrated on September 24, it is no longer part of the Roman liturgical calendar and has the rank of a commemoration. The idea of ransom was amplified in the course of history and came to signify mercy in the generic sense of grace. For more information, search All About Mary for: 'Our Lady of Ransom' and 'Virgen de la Merced'. The most famous Latin American reference to Our Lady of Mercy is that of Peru. She is by many considered the patroness of Peru and received in 1921 the title of Grand Marshall of Peru.

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