There are countless ways that in your own life, through our parish ministries or in our local
community you can Ransom the Captive. This work is often restated in the modern era as Visiting the Imprisoned. Prison ministry, or aiding the families of those who are imprisoned, is one way to live out the corporal work. No matter one’s crimes, these are still persons created in the image and likeness of God whom we are called to love. We must also not make the mistake of making a
person’s sins there identity, for we must never forget that we are all sinners, we are all criminals—hence the need for a Savior to come and ransom us. If we look around, we are sure to find people in our own lives who are bound up in addictions, those stuck in destructive behavior or relationships, those trapped by their circumstances in life. While the image of slavery that we often have in our minds may no longer be a widespread issue in our nation, there are other forms which still exist, such as the trafficking of persons, often for sex. We aren't always able to restore liberty to captives, and in fact some are captive for good reason (justice). But we can always accompany another in their suffering.
St. Peter Nolasco was one of several individuals to found religious orders dedicated to ransoming
captives. At the beginning of the 13th century, the capturing of Christians in Europe by Muslims was common practice—whether on coastlands, or along the borders between the two factions in the Iberian Peninsula. Those not ransomed would be sold into slavery. Peter’s order had two purposes—they had a branch of knights whose duty it was to defend individuals from being taken into captivity, but they also had a branch of monks whose duty was to pray, to collect alms, and to go and ransom Captives. They even took a vow to act as hostages themselves, become captive themselves, if it could free others. The Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of
Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives ransomed over 70,000 people.