9 July 2018

Blessed Marija Petkovic (1892-1966)

Marija Petkovic was born to a poor family in southern Croatia. Committed to serving the poor, she entered a local convent of the Servants of Charity. Many of the sisters were Italian, and when, following the death of their superior, most of them decided to return to Italy, Marija was appointed by the bishop to serve as the new superior. He told her this meant being “the last among the Sisters, and if necessary going barefoot while the Sisters wore shoes…following the example of the crucified Jesus.”

In 1920, she reestablished her community as a new congregation, the Daughters of Mercy, an independent Franciscan congregation with the mission of spreading knowledge of the love of God through performance of the works of mercy. She took the name Mary of Jesus Crucified.

Over time, she established forty-six communities, including several in Argentina. Her connection to Latin America contributed to the unusual miracle that was certified in approval of her beatification. In 1988, a trawler in the South Pacific crashed into a Peruvian submarine, which began to sink. An officer on board the submarine invoked the help of Marija Petkovic and reportedly received the strength to open a hatch against thousands of pounds of water pressure, allowing his crewmates to escape.

Marija Petkovic died on July 9, 1699. She was beatified in 2003.

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