The Congregation Daughters of St. Mary of Leuca was established in 1938 by Mother Elisa Martinez. The foundation occurred at the southern end of Italy, in the shadow of a Marian Shrine called Sancta Maria de Finibus Terrae (St. Mary of the Earth’s End). In 1941 the local Italian bishop recognized the congregation by granting it Diocesan Jurisdiction. He requested our beloved foundress, Mother Elisa to take the title of “St. Mary of Leuca” for her daughters. Her growing community obtained the “Decree of Praise” in 1943, granting it a Pontifical Right. Our simple rule of life is inspired by Christ’s own life: to be poor, chase and obedient.
By the exercise of the charism to care for the children and the needy, they have brought Christ’s New Commandment to life. They dedicate themselves totally to the brothers and sisters in need. They serve as social workers, nurses and teachers. They work in day care centres, Montessori’s schools, hospitals and nursing homes. A number of sisters assist in parish ministry.
A special characteristic of the Congregation is its devotion to Mary. In living the Religious consecration, Our Lady becomes our efficacious model, inspiring them to constantly seek union with God. From Mary, the handmaid of God, they learn the secret of interior life nourished by the spirit of prayer they embrace the mystery of consecrated apostolate to serve with religious obedience.
The Primary apostolate is the care of children. DML welcome any child into their centres, regardless of race, colour and religion. Following the footsteps of their beloved foundress, who was inspired and filled with zeal to serve God through the little ones, they put into practice the teaching of Christ: “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me”. (Mt: 18:5).
The leading lamps among us,