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Mary de Cervellione

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Mary de Cervellione (de Cervello; Mary of Cervellon) (born about 1230 at Barcelona; died there 19 September 1290) was a Catalan superior of a Third Order of Mercedarians. She is a Catholic saint; her cult, which began immediately after her death, was approved by Pope Innocent XII in 1692.

She is invoked especially against shipwreck and is generally represented with a ship in her hand. Her feast is celebrated on 25 September. On account of her charity towards the needy she began to be called Maria de Socos (Mary of Help).


She was a daughter of a Spanish nobleman named William de Cervellon. One day she heard a sermon preached by 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 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 elected the first superior.


  • Acta Sanctorum, 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 Sanctorum. According to Sarah Fawcett Thomas, Paul Burns, Butler's Lives of the Saints, September (2000), p. 186, these accounts are marred by many forgeries.

This article incorporates text from the entry Mary de Cervellione in Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.

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