Marija Petković came from the rich family and the small Blato and enter the poor convent and the big world. Her Congegration of Doughters of Mercy is active in three continents spreading her ideas of humility and mercy.
Blessed Marija Petković was born in Blato. She was sixth of eight children of Antun and Marija. The family was rich, but in her childhood she decided to protect and help the poor.
The foundation and the growth of the congregation
In 1919 she moves with five girls into an abandoned monastery in Blato. They want to help the poor and that was the baseof the future Congregation of Daughters of Mercy of St. Francis (the only congregation founded in Croatia).
In 1920, encouraged by the Dubrovnik bishop she founds the Congregation of Daughters of Mercy. On the inauguration of the order Marija received the name Mary of Jesus Crucified.
The first convent was founded in Blato, the second in Subotica in Serbia. In the year 1936 a group of sisters went to South America, and in 1940 Marija went there and started her work in Argentina. Because of the war in Europe she stayed in South America for 12 years and founded many convents there.
In 1952 Blessed Marija returns to Europe and sets up the Congregation's headquarters in Rome.
In 1966 she dies in Rome with the reputation for sanctity. She was buried in the Roman cemetery of Campo Verano. To the very end of her life she encouraged her sisters to honour God as Father and to honour his charity.
In 1986 the procedure for her beatification was started in Rome. On 26 August 1988, the Peruvian submarine BAP Pacocha was rammed and sunk by a Japanese fishing trawler. Roger Cotrina Alvarado distinguished himself during the disaster – praying for Petković's aid, Cotrina displayed superhuman strength in opening a hatch against several thousands of pounds of water. That action prevented the immediate deaths of 22 crewmen, and Cotrina's subsequent heroic but merely temporal actions brought about their rescue.
In 1998 earthly remains of Marija Petković were translated from Rome to Blato.
On June 6, 2003 Pope John Paul II celebrated her beatification Mass in Dubrovnik, officially recognizing her as "Blessed”. Thus she became the first Croatian blessed women.
The congregation today
Today, her Congregation has more then 400 nuns and is active in Europe (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Romania), South America (Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Peru) and in Canada.