The Board of Trustees, the Provincial Council of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy, is the governing body responsible for Our Lady of Mercy Academy.
Sister M. Ambrogina Aldeni, Provincial
Sister Margaret M. Curcio, Councilor
Sister Eileen Marie McGowan, Councilor
Sister M. Damian Aussi, Councilor
Sister M. Judith Tarozzi, Councilor
About Our Foundress
Benedetta, better known as Saint Mary Joseph Rossello, is the foundress of the Daughter of Our Lady of Mercy. She was born on May 27, 1811 to a ceramics craftsman and his wife. As a child she assisted her father in his workshop and helped her mother bake bread for the poor. Her favorite game was “school” in which she taught the neighborhood children religion on the back steps of her house. She enjoyed taking her “students” on “field trips” to the chapel in Abisola to pray and sing to Mary, the Mother of Mercy.
As Benedetta became a young adult, she visited the chapel every day, seeking spiritual direction and praying: “I have only one wish, to become a saint: help the poor, and avoid sin because it offends the Lord.” On August 10, 1837, the feast day of Saint Lawrence Benedetta started the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy. with four young women she moved into an old house called The Commenda. On October 22, 1837, the bishop came to the house to preside over a blessing ceremony. It was then that Benedetta changed her name to Sister Mary Joseph Rossello.
Since the Daughters of Mercy had only just recently been established, there was not a lot of money in their treasury. With the intention of buying new statues, the women had to sell their hair for money. Their motto, still used today, is “Heart to God, Hands to Work.” The coat of arms consists of a tree which represents that the mission grows by divine grace, and stars which represent Mary under whose protection the institution is placed.
Not too long after the institution of the order, many young women joined the Daughters of Mercy, including Mary Joseph’s sister, and they decided to open a school. Because of the large amount of students in attendance, the sisters had to split the school into two: one for the poor and one for the wealthy.
From 1855 to 1880, the Daughters of Mercy traveled around the world to help troubled girls get back on their feet. Sister Mary Joseph Rossello soon began to grow weak and could not do much work except pray from her bedroom. The Daughters began a Novena to the Immaculate Conception. Sister Mary Joseph Rossello died on December 7, 1880. Her last words were, “My Jesus mercy. Into your hands, I commend my spirit. It is enough.” She completed this gesture by kissing the cross and taking her last breath. Her body rests in a crystal urn in The House of Divine Providence. People pray to her for protection and comfort.
On June 12, 1949, she was declared Saint Mary Joseph Rossello at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome by Pope Pius X!!. Today, the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy continue their mission throughout 19 nations.