Tag Archives: St. Peter Nolasco

St. Peter Nolasco; He founded The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy; aka the Mercedarians. This year they celebrate 800 years of sacrifice and service to others.

St. Peter Nolasco….en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Peter Nolasco was known for having as his most pronounced virtue that of ‘love of neighbor.’ It was said that people already knew of this when he was only a baby. The story was that while in his cradle, a swarm of bees landed on him, and formed a honey-comb on his right hand. He was never harmed. This may be true or simply “urban-legend” but, no matter what, Peter Nolasco’s prime, interior virtue was obvious to people even when he was just a baby.

Peter Nolasco was born in Castelnaudary ( located in southern France) in 1189. His well to do parents died when he was very young. They left Peter a substantial inheritance, and since this was the time in history when the Albigensian heresy was exploding throughout France, Peter took his money and headed to Barcelona to be as far away from the Albigensians as possible.

He was a teenager when he arrived in Barcelona and joined the army that was fighting the Albigensians in the Iberian Peninsula. This area included most of Spain and Portugal. The army was led by Simon de Monfort.

When King Peter II of Aragon was defeated, in the Battle of Muret, his six-year-old son, James I, was captured and Peter was appointed the child’s tutor. This gave Peter standing, and after making a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Montserrat, he began to display his charitable virtue.

His concern for captive Christians began to build, and he decided to establish a religious order dedicated to helping these victims of the Moors who were capturing and enslaving Christians by the thousands. He was often heard saying that he would gladly offer himself as ransom if he could.

Peter Nolasco began ransoming Christian captives in 1203. In 1218,  Raymond of Penafort started a lay organization for the purpose of ransoming slaves. Peter, who was an advocate for this, decided to start an organization with rules and guidelines made up of religious members under the patronage of Mary.

In 1218 Peter also formed a congregation of religious men which today, 800 years later,  is known as The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. The title is summed up in one word, Mercedarians. Besides the standard vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, the Mercedarians also take a fourth vow; they agree to exchange themselves to free captive ChristiansIn the First Constitutions of the Order, the Amerian Constitutions (1272): “… all the brothers of the Order must always be gladly disposed to give up their lives, if it is necessary, as Jesus Christ gave up his for us…”

St. Peter Nolasco never lost sight of the fact that he would join with the Blessed Virgin to advance his ministry. He knew that saving the captives could never be accomplished without help from the Mother of Jesus. Mary is linked to the program of liberation. She is the model for all redemptive work. He knew that Our Lady was what reinforced and guaranteed all of the apostolic works that would be undertaken.

St. Peter Nolasco discovered that Mary was the foundation of freedom and mercy. She is the sustenance and point of the liberation movement. So much so that the order founded by him is called The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.

From that point forward all Friars, Sisters, and the Third Order always considered Mary as the Mother of Freedom. She is the one who sustains and encourages the order with her ever continued and ongoing presence. The Blessed Mother came to Peter Nolasco and helped him realize that the mystery of God’s redemption is visible in the captivity and heartache of those held against their will. To this very day, they will offer themselves by trading their very selves for your freedom.

From the Mercedarian website:  orderofmercy.org

“Today, friars of the Order of Mercy continue to rescue others from modern types of captivity, such as social, political, and psychological forms. They work in jails, marginal neighborhoods, among addicts, and in hospitals. In the United States, the Order of Mercy gives special emphasis to educational and parish work.”

Pope Gregory IX gave the church’s official seal of approval to the Mercedarian order in 1230.

Peter Nolasco died on May 6, 1256. He was canonized a saint in 1628 by Pope Urban VIII.

St. Peter Nolasco, please pray for us all

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Please see other articles on members of The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy

St.Serapion     St. Peter Paschal   St. Mary de Cervellon  St. Raymond Nonnnatus

Peter Armengol

 

St. Mary of Cervellon–Formed the Third Order of Our Lady of Ransom and is the Patroness of those Shipwrecked

Mary of Cervellon  wikipedia.org

By  Larry Peterson

She was born sometime in 1230, some think around December 1, and was baptized on December 8* in Santa Maria del Mar parish in Barcelona. Her name was Mary de Cervellon, and she was the daughter of a Spanish nobleman, William de Cervellon.

As a young woman, Mary began working in Saint Eulalia Hospital tending to the sick, the poor and also those who were prisoners. One day she heard a sermon given by Bernard de Corbarie, who was the superior of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Ransom, also known as Mercedarians. 

She was so moved by what she heard she vowed right then and there to do all she could to help alleviate the suffering and misery experienced by those who were prisoners of the Muslim Turks. Working at the hospital, Mary was able to come in contact with the great leaders of the Mercedarian order, including the order’s founder, St. Peter Nolasco.

Inspired by these pious people Mary, in the year, 1265, joined a small group of women who lived near the monastery. These ladies spent their lives in constant prayer and doing good works for those in need.

In due time the women asked for and received permission to form the Third Order of Our Lady of Ransom. In addition to the normal three vows of poverty,  chastity, and obedience they also vowed to pray for all Christian slaves. They were all given permission to wear the white habit of the Mercedarians and Sister Mary de Cervellon was elected their first Mother Superior. Sister Mary had such an empathy and devotion to the poor and needy that soon she began to be called Maria de Socros  (Mary of Help).

Mary de Cervellon passed away on Septemeber 19, 1290. During Mary’s life and after her death, there were people who swore that they saw Mary literally on the “wings of the wind”, reaching down and saving floundering ships from rough seas so they might stay their course and continue on their journey to free Christian prisoners from the Muslims.

A great devotion grew in her honor and it was given approval by Pope Innocent XII in 1692. She is the Patroness  of those shipwrecked and paintings of Mary show her with a ship cradled in her arms as she saves it from the roaring seas around it.

Mary de Cervellon’s body lies incorrupt to this very day in the Mercedarian Basilica in Barcelona, Spain.

St. Mary de Cervellon, please pray for us all.