Monday, September 24, 2012

The Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy

The Image of Our Lady of Mercy in her Basilica in Barcelona.

Today is the Fest of Our Lady of Mercy, who is honored under several names today.  I have mentioned before that I have a particular devotion to Our Lady under this title, also known as Our Lady of Ransom. She was the patroness of my parish's Lady Shrine under the title of Our Lady of Clemency when I was an Anglican and was the patroness of the Mercedarian Friars who were in charge of the parish where I was received into the Roman Catholic Church. In the UK, today is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, the great English title of Our Lady. It all comes together to make for a tidy package of associations with different periods of my life and I credit Our Lady under this title with doing a lot of the heavy lifting to keep me out of trouble.  It seems that no matter where I am or what outfit I belong to, she is there to look out for me.


In 2009, I was able to visit her image in the basilica dedicated to her in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. The cult of Our Lady of Mercy in Barcelona dates to the 13th Century founding of the Mercedarains, who were founded to ransom Christian captives.

In the 17th Century, Our Lady of Mercy was credited with saving Barcelona from a plague and made patroness of the city, after which the church housing her image was rebuilt in the Baroque style. Today, the styles in the basilica range from the Medieval image of Our Lady in her gallery above the high altar to several 20th Century pieces.

I touched the white scapular I keep with the image of Our Lady to the original image. Sadly, there were no friars around to bless it on this or a second trip back to the basilica the next day.

The Altar of St. Mary Cervellon.

The Basilica is also the resting place of St. Peter Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarians, and St. Mary Cervellon, foundress of the Mercedarian sisters, who was often seen on the wind aiding Mercedarian ransom ships when they were in danger.

There are about 40 more photos of the basilica on my Flickr site, including several shots of the side altars.

*  *  *

Our Lady of Clemency, S. Clement's, Philadelphia

 Two Prayers to Our Lady of Clemency 

Blessed Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, glory of our Church and Mother of all Christians: of the generous love and courtesy wherewith thou hast ever served the people of God, be pleased to take our needs to Him. As we kneel before the Throne of our Eucharistic King, do thou bow before His presence in Heaven and plead our cause for us, and by thy mighty intercession obtain for us the petitions which we ask of God: that Jesus may triumph over the prince of this world, and souls be blessed and saved, and God glorified in us all for ever and ever. Amen.

Mother of Divine Grace, Help of Christians, and Cause of our Joy! Plead with Thy Son for this Church and its people; protect us in thy motherly arms from sin and sorrow; be our shield against pride and envy, and all snares of the devil; and teach us, loving thee, to love Jesus, and all souls for Jesus' sake.