September 24

Mare de Déu de la Mercè, Barcelona, Spain

In early August of 1218, St. Peter Nolasco, St. Raymund of Penafort, and James, King of Aragon, each had a vision of the Virgin Mary asking them to found a religious order devoted to freeing Christian captives from the Muslims, who still held much of Spain. The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy grew quickly, collecting alms for ransom and sometimes offering themselves in exchange for prisoners. The statue of the Mother of God of Mercy in Barcelona (right) dates from the 1300s. She became the city's patron saint after saving it from a plague of locusts in 1687. Before the counter-reformation, the Mercedarian Order celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Ransom on August 1, the date when she showed St. Peter Nolasco their white habit. The Vatican changed the date to September 24 when it extended the feast to the entire Church in 1696. Since Vatican II, Catholic observance of Our Lady of Mercy's day is limited to places and organizations that claim her as patron. Meanwhile, the Mercedarians have changed their mission to teaching and chaplaincy, and the Barcelona soccer team visits the Basilica of La Mercè after victories in thanks for her help. Her fiesta in Barcelona is a spectacular sequence of processions, dances, music, games, and fireworks. (Information from "Festa de la Mare de Déu de la Mercè," Arquebisbat de Barcelona, Image from  

Also celebrated this date:
bulletVirgen de la Caridad, San José de Minas, Pichincha, Ecuador (Virgin of Charity)
bulletNotre Dame de Tamié, Plancherine, Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, France. Dedication of abbey church, 1730.
bulletNotre Dame de Liesse, Mézel, Alpes de Haute-Provence, France
bulletPanagia Mirtidiotissa, Kamari, Santorini, Greece (All-Holy Lady of the Myrtle)

bulletMadonna Pellegrina, Berzo Inferiore, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy (Pilgrim Madonna)
bulletMatka Boża Wspomożycielka Wiernych, Twardogóra, Oleśnica, Lower Silesia, Poland (Mother of God Help of Christians). Statue crowned, 1994.
bulletVirgen de Allende, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain (Virgin from Beyond). Romería.
bulletVirgen de los Valles, Burgo de Osma, Soria, Castile and Léon, Spain, Barcebalejo district
bulletVirgen de las Torres, Berlanga de Duero, Soria, Castile and Léon, Spain (Virgin of the Towers)
bulletNuestra Señora de las Mercedes, San Fernando, Cádiz, Andalucia, Spain (Our Lady of Mercy)
bulletVirgen de la Antigua, Nechite, Válor, Granada, Andalucia, Spain. Mass, procession, games, sweets, fireworks, night-long dancing.
bulletNuestra Señora de los Reyes, La Frontera, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain (Our Lady of the Kings)
bulletMost Holy Theotokos of Kaplunivka, Kaplunivka, Krasnokutskyi, Kharkiv, Ukraine (Sept. 11 Julian)
bulletZimnenska Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, Zimne, Volodymyr-Volynsky, Volyn, Ukraine
bulletOur Lady of Walsingham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly