What to visit / Themed routes / Women of Ciutat Vella walk / Virgin of la Mercè

Our Lady of Mercy (La Mercè)

Co-patron saint of Barcelona

It is said that on 24th September 1218, Our Lady of Mercy appeared simultaneously to three eminent figures: the king of Aragon, Jaume I, and the saints Peter Nolasco and Raymond of Peñafort. She entrusted them with a mission: to found a religious order that would devote itself to rescuing the Christians being held hostage in the lands occupied by the Saracens. This is how the Mercedarian Order came into being.

A series of events that took place in Barcelona were explained at the time as miracles attributed to Our Lady of Mercy. They included her intervention in protecting the city from a plague of locusts. In 1687, she was named patron saint of the city, but this wasn’t made official until the nomination was approved by Pope Pius IX in 1868. Since then, Our Lady of Mercy has shared the honour of being patron saint of the city with Saint Eulalia.

On 24th September, Barcelona celebrates its main festival, the Festes de La Mercè. Eagerly anticipated by locals, it includes a wide range of cultural and recreational activities and events for people of all ages and backgrounds.

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