Sweet Mother of God, Our Lady of Ransom, you love the liberty of your children …
In late September in Spanish- and French-speaking countries, celebrations center around the Virgin de la Merced — Our Lady of Ransom or Our Lady of Mercy. Merced means grace, benefit, mercy, and the Order of Mercedarians promoted devotion to Our Lady under this title.
The Mercedarians were founded in 1218 in Barcelona, Spain, and their early mission was giving their lives in exchange for the freedom of those held captive by the Moors.
The devotion to Our Lady of Merced had continued strong through the centuries, and many people turn to her to ask for freedom from the physical or spiritual chains holding them down.
September 24, her feast day, is often associated with praying for prisoners. But for all of us, imprisoned by whatever chains we might have in our lives, she is a powerful intercessor.
Here is a prayer asking her to release us from our chains:
Mary, Our Lady of Ransom and Mercy,
sweet Mother of God,
who loves the liberty of your children,
and suffers with those who are imprisoned,
listen to the request I make of you:
Break the chains of our sin
and the structures of sin in our world,
so that, free from them,
we might unite ourselves completely to your Son, Jesus,
and live like him, in freedom,
dedicated to that for which we were created: to love.