One night while Peter Nolasco was praying, the Blessed Virgin appeared (1228) and told him how greatly pleased she and her divine Son would be if a religious order were established in her honor for the express purpose of delivering Christians held in bondage by the infidels. In compliance with her wish, Peter, together with St. Raymond of Penafort and James I, King of Aragon, founded the Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the ransom of captives. Besides the usual vows, all members were required to take a fourth, one by which they bound themselves to become captives of the pagans, if necessary, to effect the emancipation of Christians.
On one occasion Peter Nolasco ransomed 400 at Valencia and Granada; twice he traveled to Africa as “the Ransomer,” not without peril to his own life; and records show that through his personal efforts a total of 890 Christians regained their liberty. He died with these words from Psalm 110 on his lips: The Lord has sent redemption to His people.