OUR LADY OF RANSOM (24th September 2018)
St. Peter Nolasco (12th c.) was inspired to establish a religious order for the ransom of Christians from Muslim captivity. On August 1, 1218 the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Peter Nolasco along with his confessor, St. Raymond of Peñafort, and to King James I of the Kingdom of Aragon to verify the Divine inspiration of this mission. Word of the Marian apparition soon spread to the entire kingdom. The new religious foundation, called the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy (the Mercedarians), was established and approved by Pope Gregory IX. The order worked to raise money to ransom Christians who had been captured and enslaved by Muslims, and to offer themselves, if necessary, as payment for their release. A feast was instituted under the title of Our Lady of Ransom and observed on September 24, later extended to the entire Church.