The manual of the history of the Order, long awaited and yearned for, has become a reality in these past years thanks to a joint determination and effort. It is presented under the title: The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy (1218-1992). A Historical Synthesis.

Among us—Mercedarians—we felt the need for a synthesis of the Order’s history, especially for young Mercedarians in formation—religious and lay—so that they might be able to approach the great wealth of almost eight centuries of history, through a book covering the Mercedarian life span and activities and, at the same time, combining the synthesis and historical rigor with data from remote times and contemporary language. All of that is presented concisely in view of the book’s addressees: the entire Mercedarian Family and scholars of themes referring to history in general and to Mercedarian history in particular.

On the occasion of the International Mercedarian Congress in Santiago, Chile, in November 1991, at their own meeting, the members of the Order’s Historical Institute offered their enthusiastic collaboration to achieve this dream.

After several encounters of the Commission in charge of preparing the work, the project has been successfully carried out. So today, with delight and profound satisfaction , the work comes to us as one more contribution of the Order’s Historical Institute.

In a spirit of faith, I join the readers of these pages so that the love for Mary of Mercy and the redemptive commitment of Saint Peter Nolasco may impel us to know our history better, by projecting ourselves from the present toward a future marked by a yearning for freedom for all and by concrete gestures of liberation for those who suffer because of their faith and because of the consequences of the new forms of captivity.

Congratulations and my thanks to all those who have made the publication of this book possible, with the wish that—to paraphrase what the message of the 1992 General Chapter said—in the next millennium, the Order may be more incarnated in captives and may more enriched by the works of liberation of all its religious.

Friar Emilio Aguirre Herrera
Master General

Rome, January 17, 1997
Anniversary of the Confirmation of the Order

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