Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Memorial of Our Lady of Ransom

It's not that difficult to guess who Our Lady of Ransom is, right? Yep, it's dear Mama Mary again. Read more about her here (or you can just look down):

- The Blessed Virgin appeared in 1218 in separate visions to St. Peter Nolasco, St. Raymond of Penafort and James the king of Aragon, asking them to found a religious order dedicated to freeing Christian captives from the barbarous Saracens or Moors, who at the time held a great part of Spain.
- On August 10, 1218, King James established the royal, military and religious Order of our Lady of Ransom (first known as the Order of St. Eulalia, now known as the Mercedarian Order). The work of the Mercedarians was in ransoming impoverished captive Christians (slaves) held in Muslim hands, especially ordinary people who had not the means to negotiate their own ransom (the "poor of Christ"). They also organized many hospices and hospitals and also established local charitable institutions such as almshouses.
- The order included religious priests who prayed and gathered the means for ransoming captives while the lay monks or knights went into the very camps of the Moors to buy back Christians, and, if necessary, take their places.
- This feast, once kept only by the Order, was extended to the whole Church by Pope Innocent XII in the 17th century.


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