GREATER DOUBLE / WHITE
This feast was extended to the whole Church in thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin, for having in the thirteenth century inspired St. Peter Nolasco and St. Raymond of Pennafort to found a religious order for the release of Christians captured by the Saracens. The Mercedarians vowed to give themselves up as hostages for the imprisoned Christians when ransom and military means failed. Their heroism saved countless souls from apostasy and despair.
Mass of the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, except
O God, through the glorious Mother of Your Son You enriched the Church with a new religious congregation dedicated to freeing Christians from slavery among the heathens. We venerate Mary as the foundress of this institution and pray that she may also deliver us from our sins and the slavery of the devil through her own merits and intercession. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord . . .