Iglesia de La Merced, historic church and convent on Cuenca y Chile, identifies as Real Celestial y Militar Orden de los Redentores Mercedarios de Cautivos...whew! Founded in August of 1218 in Spain, it settled in second as a religious order launched in Quito.
It first arose on another site, mainly of adobe, and held out for 50 years. The second structure of rock, lime and brick tumbled in a violent earthquake.
The image of Our Lady of Mercy surfaced as first in the beginnings of the founding of the city. Some say that a statue of Jesus and Mary existed for receiving offerings as an idol called Mary Messiah
On September 8, 1575, the volcano Pichincha Guagua erupted. Mary - invoked under the title of Our Lady of Mercy - received the credit through her intercession as the protectress of the land for liberation of the curse. This story of idolatry, although believed to be inaccurate, still circulates.
Also known as the Pilgrim Virgin, she made her rounds to different pueblos carried by the religious in prayer to raise funds for rebuilding.
At any rate, Iglesia de La Merced historic church vibrantly added to Quito through the turbulence of the different eras. Its art and records sustain this.
Some stories, especially derogatory ones, were spread by the enemy of the Church. Especially since idolatry was practiced by those that ruled before, along with sacrifice of babies and virgins to their gods.
To this day, they deny their ancestors practiced child sacrifice to appease their gods. But this explains why the Spanish reacted violently. It's been chalked up to ignorance, and, of course, no one wants to be labeled as ignorant.
It isn't the first time and it won't be the last that people try to change history. Yet, only today can be changed to change the future.
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