Our Lady of Mercy
The order of Our Lady of Mercy was founded in 1233. The founder was Peter Nelasco. Peter was concerned with the evils of slavery and unjust imprisonment. During his meditation and prayer over the tragic results these dual evils, Our Lady appeared to him. Our Lady stated to him that it was God's good pleasure that he should found a religious order. And he should call it the order of Our Lady of Mercy. "Who am I that God should honor me like this? And who are you, who knows so well, the secrets of my heart?' Asked Peter. The Lady answered "I am Mary, the Mother of God. My son, the Redeemer of the world, who came to give liberty to the captive, has much people bound in captivity, and wishes the order to be established."
Peter was filled with joy to have been blessed to serve Our Lord and Our Lady. He decided he must immediately begin making his work a reality. He went to the King of Aragon to report the message from Our Lady of Mercy.
Peter was surprised to learn that the King had also been given a visit from the Queen of Heaven. She made her desire to have this order begun with an additional visit to St. Raymond de Pennafort (from the order of St. Dominic). Immediately, the Bishop of Barcelona and his ministers were to begin to lay the first stone of the new order.
Peter was to be given a rope and scapular that would represent his new mission to the slaves and captives. The King also authorized the order to bear the royal arms.
Instructions on how the order would be designed and maintained were given from Heaven above. Peter said that Our Lord Jesus gave him all his instructions. The order prospered under its divine directors and human mediators.
(Reference: The Life of Peter Nelasco; author RPF Zumel)