1. Who is the Order of Mercy, or Mercedarians?
The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy (Order of Mercy, or Mercedarians) was founded in 1218. Originally structured as a military order, the Mercedarians were later given mendicant privilege to support the work of ransoming captive Christians from the Saracens. The Mercedarians pledged to use themselves as ransom if there was no more money, yet a possibility of freeing a captive.This developed into the characteristic “Fourth Vow” of the Mercedarian Order: to give one’s life for someone in danger of losing their Christian faith.
2. Where is the Order of Mercy located throughout the world?
In the United States, the Order is active in Pennsylvania, New York, Florida and Ohio, with its U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia. Worldwide, the Mercedarians have houses in Spain, Italy, India, Mozambique, Cameroon, Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Equador, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatamala, Honduras, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the United States.
3. How many men are active in your order?
The Mercedarians have about 700 friars in 9 provinces throughout the world.
4. Who was your founder, and what was his purpose?
Our Father and Founder St. Peter Nolasco considered Our Lady of Mercy (Our Lady of Ransom) to be the foundress of the Order. Mary’s feast day, September 24th has consistently been celebrated as the principle feast of the Order. It was through the inspiration and guidance of Mary that Nolasco started the Order to free Christian captives.
5. What is your apostolate today?
From the beginning, the Mercedarians have recognized and expressed 3 levels of the apostolate–charitable, apostolic, and redemptive ministries. Charitable ministries (acts of charity done for all God’s children) and apostolic ministries (those that serve the Catholic faithful and that belong to the Universal Church) are undertaken to support the redemptive ministries (freeing Christians who are in danger of losing their faith due to physical, psychological, socio-economic, and/or spiritual captivities).
6. Why are your saints important to you?
The Mercedarian Saints are examples of the perfect imitation of Christ the Redeemer.
7. How do I know if I have a vocation to the Order of Mercy?
Test Your Call
Find if you have a vocation as a Mercedarian Friar
Do you have:
- Deep love for our Blessed Mother?
- Devotion to the Holy Eucharist?
- Dedication to the Catholic Church?
- A desire to lay down one’s life for a friend?
Steps to a vocation with us:
- I have visited a Mercedarian community and, in some sense, felt “at home,” and asked to make application.
- The Mercedarians confirm this vocation by accepting my application.
- Also take our 7 Quick Questions quiz. Go to our Vocation Director Greetings page.
8. How can the laity get involved?
(Please return to this site, as we will update this question.) Click also for our Third Order.
9. How can I keep up with what you are doing?
Check out our Mercedarian Facebook page.
10. How can I support the Order of Mercy?
11. How do I contact you?
Go to the Contact Us page.