Blessed Marija Petkovic

Blessed Marija PetkovicAlso known as

  • Maria Petkovic
  • Marija of Jesus Crucified Petkovic
  • Marija of Jesus Crucified
  • Mary of Jesus Crucified



Sixth of eleven children born to Antun Petkovic-Kovac and Maria Marinovic. Raised in a wealthy family known for their charity to the poor. Educated in public elementary school and then the School of Domestic Science run by the Servants of Charity. Made her First Communion in 1905 at age 13.

She joined the Daughters of Mary in 1906, felt a serious call to religious life, and on 21 November she made a private vow of chastity. President of the 300 member Daughters of Mercy from 1909 to 1919. Member of the Good Shepherd Association, a group of twenty young women who visited the sick and helped children prepare for their First Communion. Her father died in 1911 when Mary was 19, and she had to help raise her younger siblings. Founded the Society of Catholic Mothers in 1915. Led a group of 200 Franciscan tertiaries in 1917, and began working in a Servants of Charity soup kitchen. Her work led her to become well-known and well-loved in her home town of Blato, Croatia, and in 1918 she promised its citizens that she would stay to live and help them.

On 25 March 1919 she and her friend Marija Telenta joined the Sisters of Charity. However, in May the superior died, the Italian sisters were forced to leave the country, and Mary, Marija and two other Croatian sisters were left to handle the work in the area. Mary was put in charge, and requested that the remaining Sisters follow the Rule of the Third Order Franciscans. Few as they were, in 1919 the Sisters still opened a recovery center, a child-care facility, and an orphanage.

On 25 August 1920, Mary wrote the first Constitutions of a new order. On 4 October 1920 it was founded as the Congregation of the Daughters of Mercy, Mary taking the name Marija of the Crucified Jesus. She served as the Superior General of the Congregation for over 30 years, helped found 46 communities of the Daughters serving in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, seminaries, and parishes. Her health failed in her later years, and she was partially paralysed the last three years of her life.





Additional Information


Love infinitely the most sweet Lord Jesus Christ; do everything for Him alone and spend your life in works of mercy and of love. Blessed Mary to her sisters, late in life

I choose You alone as my spouse, I will love only You. Blessed Mary’s vow of chastity, which she renewed every day of her religious life

If I had money, I would trust in money, but [without it] I trust only in God. Blessed Mary

“Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). This is the question that Sister Marija of Jesus Crucified asked her Lord from the time of her youth in Blato on the island of Korcula, when she took active part in the life of her parish and devoted herself generously to others in the Association of the Good Shepherd, in the Association of Catholic Mothers, and in the people’s Kitchen.

The response echoed clearly in her heart: “Come and follow me!” Overwhelmed by the love of God, she chose to consecrate herself to him for ever and to fulfil her aspiration to total devotion to the spiritual and material well-being of those most in need. Later she founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Mercy of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis, with the specific task of “spreading knowledge of God’s love through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.” Difficulties were not lacking, but Sister Marija persevered with indomitable courage, offering up her sufferings as so many acts of worship and supporting her Sisters by her words and her example.

For forty years she guided her Institute with maternal wisdom, opening it to missionary commitment in various countries of Latin America. Pope John Paul II in the beatification homily for Blessed Mary

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Marija Petkovic“. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 February 2019. Web. 19 June 2021. <>