The title of Our Lady of Ransom is originally associated with the apparitions of Our Lady to St Peter Nolasco on 1st August 1253 showing him the white tunic and red cross to be adopted by the Order of Mercedarians which she wished King James of Aragon to establish. The purpose of the new order was prayer and almsgiving for the redemption of Christian captives in Moorish hands. The apparition took place in Barcelona Cathedral where the Shrine of Our Lady of Ransom is to be found. The co-founders of the Guild, Fr. Philip Fletcher M.A. & Mr. Lister Drummond Q.C. chose this title of Our Lady as they saw a spiritual parallel with the work of the medieval Ransomers. Through the members of the Guild they wished to ransom their country back as Mary’s Dowry by ransoming individuals from the darkness of unbelief and heresy into the light of the Catholic Faith.
The Guild was approved and blessed by Pope Leo XIII on 18th May 1889, whereupon he declared himself to be our ‘President’. Pope St. Pius X and his successors took the title ‘Protector’ [Protectore Archconfraternitatis S.M. de Mercede pro Conversionis Angliae et Cambriae]. This and several other minor titles were dropped from those listed in the Annuario Pontifico in the 1980s.
The second priest to join the Guild was Blessed John Henry Newman.
The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom
Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady
Pilgrim Bureau, Friday Market Place
Walsingham, Norfolk, NR22 6EG
Telephone: 01328 820 217
Fax: 01328 821 087