Our Lady of Mercy

Citation – Marian Library – Book – La Virgen Maria De La Merced


Dominican Republic


She is the principal patroness who was proclaimed in 1616 during the Spanish colonial rule.

According to legend, in March 1495, before leaving the island of Hispanola, Christopher Columbus who had a few Spanish men with him had to face the Chief and a large number of Indians in a battle for gold. He built a trench and placed a cross next to it on top of a hill. During the battle, the Virgin of Mercy appeared and frightened the Indians, helping the Spanish win. Supposedly, Our Lady of Mercy appeared on the site several times. Columbus told his son Diego that he wanted to build a church on the hill in honor of the Virgin. In 1527, the first convent of the Order of Mercy was established on top of the hill. There was a shrine built to honor Our Lady of Mercy at the very top of the hill where Columbus had once placed the cross.

The feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, which is celebrated in the Roman Catholic calendar on September 24, was declared a public holiday in the Dominican Republic because Mary is recognized as patroness of the country and the entire island of Hispanola. Our Lady of Mercy Day is a national holiday. It is marked with special masses in churches and colorful processions. The main celebrations are held in the capital city of Santo Domingo, where a church has been built in honor of the saint. This site is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year.


Keys, Janette. “Virgin Altagracia and Las Mercedes of Dominican Republic.” Dominican Republic Religious Beliefs and Patron Saints, 2016, www.colonialzone-dr.com/important_stuff-religious_beliefs.html.

“Our Lady of Mercy Day in the Dominican Republic / September 24, 2018.” AnydayGuide, anydayguide.com/calendar/2507. https://anydayguide.com/calendar/2507

Researched by Anne E. Keefe

Popular Devotions

September 24th, Our Lady of Mercy Day

Hail Mary

Dios te salve, María. Llena eres de gracia: El Señor es contigo.

Bendita tú eres entre todas las mujeres.

Y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre: Jesús.

Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores,

ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.


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