About us

The Order of Mercy was founded in 1218 in the cathedral of Barcelona by San Pedro Nolasco in order to free Christians who were captives of Muslims and in which the Christian faith was in danger.

San Pedro Nolasco, who is questioned by the suffering of the captives, in 1203 he made the first redemption in Valencia, redeeming some three hundred captives. He is a man of deep faith, who discovers the face of Christ in the captives and has a mystical experience where the Virgin Mary asks him to dedicate his life to the task of redeeming Christian captives and is the founder of a religious order dedicated to this purpose.



The Mercedarians committed themselves to a fourth vote, the vow of redemption. At the beginning of the 19th century, the last captive redemptions were made, with more than 60,000 people being redeemed by Mercedarians throughout their history.

In the Mercedarian Constitutions of 2014 it is indicated that the new forms of captivity constitute the proper field of the mission of the Order, if the following conditions are met:

  • It is oppressive and degrading of the human person;
  • It is born of the principles and systems opposed to the gospel;
  • It endangers the faith of Christians; Y
  • It offers the possibility of helping, visiting and redeeming the people who are inside it.
Nuestra Historia

First years of our history

La Merced is a cry for freedom. It is to bet on the man, to love without reciprocity, to put before the other, to give life in charity. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, the monstrosity of captivity is sharply pathetic. The wars of reconquest, the privateering and piracy, the networks of exploiters make slavery a sinister and sinister business. Thousands and thousands of Christians fall into the hands of enemies of their faith, vexed, degraded and tempted to apostatize. Heaven wants to intervene, it will operate a second redemption, similar, according to Mercedarian reflection, to that performed by Christ. But the Holy Trinity needs a man, the instrument. And he finds it in Pedro Nolasco. He is a twenty-year-old Barcelonian, predisposed by an exquisite probity and the most exquisite social sensibility. Mercy grew with him, praise the hagiographers. Because Pedro Nolasco values ​​God as the supreme reason of his life, but from there he discovers all men as brothers, personalizing a passionate weakness for the poorest and unfortunate. The call came to him by surprise, from the God who always overwhelms and overwhelms those he asks for. Pedro Nolasco came from a family of merchants, who, enterprising and daring, understood in exporting fabrics, wool, linen, saffron, honey; in bringing exotic products. Good school to forge a leader. As a teenager, he enrolled in family chores, and the Lord was waiting for him there.


Childhood and youth

It was born around the year 1180 in what is now the city of Barcelona. Father Nadal Gaver wrote in 1445 that it was in “mansi sanctuarum Puellarum diocese sancti Pauli municeps civitatis Barchinone ubi suum trastulerat domicilium”. Perhaps in some allodial property dependent on the Monastery of San Pedro de las Santas Puellas (founded in the tenth century by Count Sunyer and today parish in the center of the city) that the Nolasc family owned.

His childhood and early youth spent learning to make fructify the family farm, together with the trade of merchant in the Ciudad Condal, where he had moved his home after the death of his parents. They are years of buoyant economy; Trade flourishes both for the unification of the Catalan counties and the Kingdom of Aragon, as well as for the conquests of Alfonso II in the Ebro and the consolidation of its trans-Pyrenean influence. A different society, citizen and mercantile, appears at the end of the century. The confrontation with the Muslim world brings many captives; the growth of the new rich cities and the abundance of the needy. In the late Middle Ages, a charitable spirituality of help to those most in need emerged, who are being called “poor of Christ”.

Pedro Nolasco Founder

The Mercedarian tradition fixes a special intervention of the Virgin Mary on the night of August 1 to 2, 1218. Marian experience that illuminated the mind of Nolasco and moved his will to convert that brotherhood of redeemers into Religious Order that would continue, under the blessing of the Church and protection of the King of Aragon, the work begun. On August 10, 1218, in the Cathedral of Barcelona, ​​Bishop Berenguer de Palou, in the presence of the King, imposed the white habit on Pedro Nolasco and twelve other companions, and placed him at the head of the new religious family, which will be called Santa Maria de la Merced for the redemption of the captives. Jaume I assigned the nascent friars as residence to the old hospital of Santa Eulalia, where they remained until 1234 Raimundo de Plegamans donated a plot of land in the sandy area of ​​Vilanova and transferred the new convent there. Nolasco from that 1218 to be able to consecrate more to men, consecrated to God totally.

Nolasco will continue to make heroic redemptions every year in Muslim lands, and asking for alms for the redemption of captives. He accompanied Jaume I in the conquests of Mallorca and Valencia, where he received the Royal Monastery of El Puig, and instilled in the young Barcelonian Maria de Cervelló the redeeming spirit, which would make her the first Mercedarian religious. He obtained the pontifical confirmation of his work by the bull “Devotionis vestrae” of Gregory IX, on January 17, 1235, and gave vigorous life to a pious fraternity of lay people who cooperated with their friars in the work of the redemption of captives and in the assistance to the sick, poor and pilgrims in the houses of the Hospital of Santa Eulalia. 17 foundations were made under its generalate: 7 in Catalonia, 3 in Aragon, 4 in the Valencian Community, 1 in Narbonne and another in Palma de Mallorca.

Death and legacy

Pedro Nolasco died shortly after concluding the agreement with Ramón de Morell, on March 7, 1245, for which he received the property of Arguines, since when the notarial document arrives in Barcelona for signature by the General Chapter, on the 12th of June of that year, it is said that Nolasco had already passed away. His death occurred on May 6, 1245, because the first Mercedarian Constitutions, promulgated by Fr. Pedro de Amer in 1272, ordered that “l’aniversai del first mestre del nostre orde sia feyt l’endemá l’ascensio”. The Church recognized its public worship in 1628, and its feast is celebrated on May 6.

He is the man of practical spirit and great organizational capacity, who understands risk in the Gospel sense, and knows how to unite in perfect synthesis the cause of God and man. His faith made him hear the cry of the oppressed and he felt sent by God. His hope was lived as a dynamism of overcoming the impossible and his love will lead him to offer his own freedom and even life for the redemption of the other: it is the fourth Mercedarian vow. Their friars will live in close contact with society, in small communities and with simple liturgies unlike the Conventual Orders. Communities close to those charitable and mendicant associations that gave the church of the thirteenth century a good part of its color and vitality. With them the Mercedarios share a deep respect for poverty, the importance of serving Christians in need, and a religious vocation that demanded a life within the world, with the originality of an exclusivity in the task of redemption.

Nuestros santos
imagen en bronce de San Ramón Nonato


Cleric Mercedario, lives in the last third of the thirteenth century: He is a redeemer in North Africa, and remains hostages, where he witnesses to charity and preaches the Gospel.

To prevent it, they pierce his lips with a padlock. He suffered, then, for being free also with his Christian word. Later, Pope Benedict XII, a Cistercian, was elected Cardinal, but he died before receiving the cardinal’s hat, at the end of 1338. His feast was celebrated on August 31.

Imagen en bronce de San Serapio


Of Irish origin, comes to defend the Christian faith, with Alfonso VIII. He knows the Order of Nolasco, and becomes a Mercedarian. Going to redeem Africa, on one of the occasions, he remains in hostages, and is martyred, nailing him in the form of a cross on a cross (+ November 14, 1240). La Merced celebrates it on November 14.

Imagen en bronce de San Pedro Armengol


From the family of the Catalan nobility, in his youth he becomes a “prodigal son”, he flees to the mountains. When Jaime I decided to make a raid of bandits, and accompanying the armed people, Mr. Arnaldo Armengol, they met father and son face to face.

It is morally disarmed. Go back to your house He entered the Mercy soon after, and was named Redeemer. In Bejaia he is held hostage, and hanged. Maria managed to get her companions on time, to save her from certain death. Returns to Spain and dies around 1304.It is celebrated on April 27.

Imagen en bronce de San Pedro Pascual


Cleric, doctor by the Sorbonne, expert in Latin, Valencian and Castilian, is appointed Bishop of Jaén in 1296, when he ran the church of the secular clergy of Trasmiras, Diocese of Brač.

The Moors captivate him when he made the pastoral visit to his diocese, and take him to the field of the martyrs of Granada. There he writes a synthesis on the Christian faith. He left several theological works. He died in 1300. La Merced achieved his immemorial cult on 4-6-1670. Five years later he joined the Roman martyrology. It is celebrated on December 6.

Imagen en bronce de la Beata Mariana de Jesús


Madrileña, from a wealthy family, very devoted to the Eucharist, to the crucified and to Mary, manifested her charity towards the poor and the sick. She became a Tertiary of Mercy, and General Monroy allowed her to wear the habit of a nun. I only did it in private. When the collection is born, it goes with them, from the Chapel of the Remedies, in the church of the Order, to that of Santa Bárbara.

There he builds a small house where he lives humbly. It was very dear to the people of Madrid. His body is still incorrupt, and the mercedaries of the Order, called Don Juan de Alarcón, possess this precious relic. It has Parish and hospital dedicated to her in the Villa and Court. She was beatified by Pius VI, on January 18, 1783. It is celebrated on April 17.

Imagen en bronce de Santa María de Cervellón primera mercedaria

SANTA MARÍA DE CERVELLÓN or of Socorro was the first Mercedarian religious. Born in the noble family Cervelló. Natural of Barcelona, in the year 1230, on December 1. He was baptized on the 8th of the same month. Thanks to the commitment she saw in the Mercedarian friars for being redeemers, she felt impelled to be a Mercedarian religious.

He asked for the white robes on May 25, 1265 to be a religious sister for the redemption of the captives. It has the sobriquet of Socorro because of what the legend says: “She appeared to the ships that came from Algiers loaded with captives and a storm surrounded them and she interceded to help the crew”. He died on September 19, 1290. The mortal remains are preserved on the side altar of the transept on the Gospel side. From the moment he dies he gains the fame of a saint. She is invoked as patron of the sailors. His party is celebrated on September 19.

Imagen del Beato P.Zegrí fundador de la Mercedarias de la Caridad


Founder of the religious Congregation of the Mercedarian Sisters of Charity. He was born in Granada, on October 11, 1831, in the bosom of a Christian family. His parents, Mr. Antonio Zegrí Martín and Mrs. Josefa Moreno Escudero, gave him a careful and careful education. They forged their rich personality in the evangelical human values, making him a true Christian, committed to the cause of Jesus Christ and the poor, from his youth.

Imagen de la Beata Margarita Maturana fundadora de las Mercedarias Misioneras de Berriz


She was born in Bilbao with the name of Pilar and was baptized in the parish of San Antón, together with her twin sister Leonor. He entered the monastery of Mercedarias de Bérriz in 1903 and promoted the transformation of the cloistered monastery into a missionary congregation in 1930. He died in San Sebastian after a long illness. She was beatified in the Cathedral of Santiago de Bilbao on October 22, 2006.

Medalla conmemorativa de la beatificación de los Mártires Mercedarios del s.xx


The Church proclaimed on October 13, 2013 in Tarragona -city sprinkled with the blood of the holy martyrs Fructuoso, bishop, and of the deacons Augurio and Eulogio- beatos to Fr. Mariano Alcalá Pérez and eighteen Mercedarian religious who died murdered for being religious and priests, for their fidelity to Jesus Christ.

In these nineteen Mercedarian martyrs the words of Jesus became reality: “No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends” (Jn 15,13). A life in a redemptive key, of service to the brothers. They lived as children of the Virgin of Mercy, Mother and Foundress of the Order, under their maternal mantle they lived and felt their protection at the supreme moment of martyrdom.

Our Lady of Mercy Appeared to Ask for the Captives

The Virgin of Mercy or the Mercedes is also called Generala de los Armies Celestiales.
The Woman Dressed in Sun and the Queen of Peace.

The meaning of the title “Mercy” is first of all “mercy.”

The Virgin is merciful and so should her children.

This means that we appeal to her first of all with the desire to resemble Jesus merciful.

In its commemoration the celebration of the Mercy or the Mercedes has been established, on September 24.

The last centuries of the Middle Ages, the south and the Spanish Levant were in the power of the Arabs and with their lives in suspense.

The Mediterranean was infested with Turkish and Saracen corsairs, and they attacked the ships that landed on the coasts and took many captives.

San Pedro Nolasco insistently prayed to the Virgin Mary and wondered how to remedy such a sad situation.

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