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Interior of Las Mercedes Church, Santo Domingo. Source:
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Santo Domingo.- This Monday, September 24th is the 392nd anniversary of the proclamation of the Our Lady of Mercies (La Virgen de las Mercedes) as the patron saint of the Dominican Republic and the island of Hispaniola as a whole.

A series of events are being held to commemorate this event, which is a national holiday. The Blessing of the Waters will take pace today Saturday at 7:00pm at the Church of Las Mercedes in the capital’s Colonial Zone.

On Monday, six Masses will be celebrated in honor of the patron saint, followed by a procession through the Colonial Zone.

The first apparition of the patron took place in 1495 when she spoke to a group of Spanish soldiers who were fighting the Taino Indians, according to local lore.

Our Lady of Mercies then appeared on several more occasions at Santo Cerro, where a church has been built in her honor. This site will be visited by pilgrims and a mass will be held there on Monday.

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