September 19 – She begged donations to ransom Christian captives

September 19, 2013

Blessed Mary de Cervellione

(or De Cervello)

saint_mary_cervellonPopularly styled “de Socos” (of Help) Saint, born about 1230 at Barcelona; died there 19 September, 1290. She was a daughter of a Spanish nobleman named William de Cervellon. One day she heard a sermon preached by Blessed Bernard de Corbarie, the superior of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Ransom at Barcelona, and was so deeply affected by his pleading for the Christian slaves and captives in the hands of the Turks that she resolved to do all in her power for their alleviation. In 1265 she joined a little community of pious women who lived near the monastery of the Mercedarians and spent their lives in prayer and good works under the direction of Blessed Bernard de Corbarie.


They obtained permission to constitute a Third Order of Our Lady of Ransom (de Mercede) and to wear the habit of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Ransom. In addition to the usual vows of tertiaries, they promised to pray for the Christian slaves. Mary was unanimously elected the first superior. On account of her great charity towards the needy she began to be called Maria de Socos (Mary of Help) a name under which she is still venerated in Catalonia. Her cult, which began immediately after her death, was approved by Innocent XII in 1692. She is invoked especially against shipwreck and is generally represented with a ship in her hand.

La Mercè Basilica, in Barcelona, where her incorrupt body reposes on the right side of the altar.


Acta SS., September, VII, 152-171; DUNBAR, Dictionary of Saintly Women, II (London, 1905), 56-7; ULATE, Vita Cathalauniœ virginis Mariœ de Cervellon (Madrid, 1712); AYALA, Vida de s. Maria del Socos de la orden de N. S. de las Mercedes (Salamanca, 1695); CORBERA, Vida y hechos maravillo sas de d. Maria de Cerveilon, clamado Maria Socos (Barcelona, 1639): a Life written by her contemporary JOHN DE LAES is printed in Acta SS., loc. cit.

MICHAEL OTT (Catholic Encyclopedia)


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