The first building of the Mercedarian Order was located in the then church of La Concepcion, existing Firefighters Museum. The second one was located in the current Victor Manuel Rendon Street (it was rebuilt several times after been destroyed by fires); and the third, known as Astillero (Shipyard) Chapel (existing San Alejo church), was located in Eloy Alfaro Avenue and Luzurraga Street.
The actual location dates back to 1787, according to the “Anonymous Plans and Maps”, published in the Historic Guide of Julio Estrada. It was located in the then Tigre Street, existing Victor Manuel Rendon Street. Architect Paolo Russo between 1934 and 1936 built it.
Visiting the minor basilica of La Merced is to be overwhelmed by great aesthetic emotion. To walk under its pointed arches is to go back to the gothic beautiful times, whose style is reflected in the medieval cathedrals. In the left nave there is a painting from 1800, or perhaps from the decade of 1970, which depicts the Virgin with a young girl by her side touching her vestments. The girl who posed for the painting was Rosa Icaza y Silva who later became the wife of hero and poet Jose Joaquin de Olmedo.
Going forward the visitor can observe the light that filters through the ceiling from the octagonal apse, as a living symbol of the “Light coming from Above”. The lovely entablature of the Main Altar has the image of the Virgin of La Merced wearing the Templar Cross habit of four equal arms that evokes one of the most famous European cavalry religious orders from the X century.
To the left side of the apse area, one of the marvels of universal art can be appreciated: the Eucharist allegory masterly crafted by Italian sculptor Enrico Pacciani.
The capitals decorated with flowers and angels located at the upper part of the pilasters that support the gothic archivolts of this church built between 1934 and 1936, reflect the proportional harmony of its three naves. The visitor will experience that the sacred sense of architecture can leave a spiritual mark that it will be reminded for a long time.