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LA VIRGEN DE LAS MERCEDES.

La Virgen de la Merced o Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes es una de las advocaciones marianas de la Bienaventurada Virgen María. Es equivalente también el nombre de Virgen de la Misericordia.

En las primeras Constituciones de la Orden, en 1272, la Orden recibe ya el título de «Orden de la Virgen de la Merced de la Redención de los cristianos cautivos de Santa Eulalia de Barcelona».

En el año 1265 aparecieron las primeras monjas (comendadoras) de la Merced.
Se calcula que fueron alrededor de trescientos mil los redimidos por los frailes mercedarios del cautiverio de los musulmanes.
Los seguidores de la Orden de la Merced estuvieron entre los primeros misioneros de América, en la isla de La Española o República Dominicana.

La iconografía usada para representar a la Virgen de la Merced queda definida a partir del siglo XVI, consistiendo fundamentalmente en el hábito mercedario: túnica, escapulario y capa, todo en color blanco, con en el escudo mercedario en el pecho. Otros elementos recurrentes son las cadenas y el grillete, símbolos también del cautiverio. Normalmente, además del escapulario del hábito, lleva otro pequeño en la mano que ofrece a los fieles.

Suele aparecer tocada con corona de reina, y también con el cetro en la mano derecha. En muchas ocasiones sostiene en la izquierda al Niño Jesús, que también puede llevar un escapulario en las manos. Otro modelo iconográfico es el de la Virgen Comendadora, sedente en el coro, sin niño ni cetro, con las constituciones de la Orden en una mano.

 

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