About the Daughters of Mercy
Tree of Mercy
Mercy is our name, as shown on our community seal – our Tree of Mercy – whose circle of green branches signifies a welcoming outreach to all who seek compassionate love and care under its protective branches.
In the middle of our Tree of Mercy is the letter “M” and a “crown” of 12 stars – to honor Mary, Mother of Mercy, whose name we bear – Mary, our model, and patroness.
The growth of our Tree of Mercy began as a dream of our Foundress, Saint Mary Joseph Rossello. Born to humble parents in Albisola, Italy, Benedetta, as she was named, from a very young age cherished and nourished her dream of becoming a religious in order to bring the mercy of God to the very poor. Her dream was “to have arms long enough to embrace the whole world and do good to all!”
Benedetta wished to dedicate her life to God and, being poor herself in material things, to serve the very poor. With great determination and nourished by prayer, perseverance, and constant bold risk-taking, Benedetta’s dream slowly became a reality. Thus the Tree of Mercy, first planted in Savona, Italy, grew, prospered, and took shape. As its roots grew stronger, the tree spread its branches to South America – Argentina and Brazil. Then in the year 1919, the Tree of Mercy reached North America – Springfield, Massachusetts and Hazleton, Pennsylvania – our founding missions.
Over the years since that historic year of 1919, we Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy, blessed by God’s grace and loving Providence, have undergone numerous changes in countless ways. Our sisters are located at Villa Rossello in Newfield, NJ (US Headquarters), and in York and Hershey, PA. We also operate a mission in Gonaives, Haiti. While small in numbers, the sisters of the Daughters of Mercy remain strong and in service through our ministries.
The Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy, an International Religious Congregation, founded in Savona, Italy in 1837 by Saint Mary Joseph Rossello, strive to be a prophetic witness in the world of today as it extends the Mercy of Christ to others while remaining open to the voice of the Church and the needs of God’s people. The generosity which flows from their relationship with God is reflected in the members’ Christian concern for one another and those whom they serve.
Saint Mary Joseph Rossello, Maria Giuseppa Rossello, was born in the seaport of Albisola on May 27, 1811. She was known for gathering and teaching young girls about their religion. The bishop of Savona knew this and wanted to help further her work. He purchased a home, converted two rooms into classrooms, and entrusted Mary Joseph and a few other young women with teaching. In 1837, the Institute of the Daughters of Mercy was established as the first sisters took their vows.
Mary Joseph led the community as Mother Superior for more than 40 years, placing it under the protection of Our Lady of Mercy and St. Joseph. A favorite motto of hers was, “The hands should be at work, the heart with God.” Mother Mary Joseph died on December 7, 1880. She was beatified in 1938 and canonized in 1949.
Sr. M. Ludovica
Antonina De Angelis was born in St. Gregorio d'Aquila, Italy, on October 24, 1880, daughter of Ludovica and Santa Calaiani, the first of eight children. She entered the Institute on November 14, 1904, and received the habit of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy on May 3, 1905, at which time she was given the name of Sister M. Ludovica.
In 1906, a year after her first Profession, she was sent to Argentina. After a brief stay in Buenos Aires, she was assigned to the Children's Hospital in La Plata where she served the needs of her patients and their families. Sr. Ludovica’s charity was remarkable.
She was a devoted and faithful Daughter of Mercy: Holy Mother Foundress was her beloved model; the Constitutions and Vows were her guide and rule of life; Superiors and the Generalate were held in high esteem.
On December 20, 2001, Pope John Paul II declared Ludovica DeAngelis, a Servant of God and on December 20, 2003, she was numbered among
Our spirituality as Daughters of our Lady of Mercy is based on the life of our foundress, Saint Mary Joseph Rossello. We share in the privilege of being able to link our present to the past in the miracle of her incorrupt body, preserved miraculously for our veneration, our inspiration, and our love, at our Generalate in Savona, Italy.
Called to follow Christ in the Institute founded by St. Mary Joseph Rossello, we look to her as our guide, model, and support in the practice of Mercy. As we meditate daily on her maxims, we are reminded of our responsibility to make present and operative her charism of Mercy in the Church and in the world. We assume the mission of making her known as a model of holiness and a mediatrix of graces before God.
We also recall the presence of Mary in the life of St. Mary Joseph Rossello, in the history of our Congregation, and in our own lives. Marian feasts highlight the unique place of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and in the Church. With faith and love, we celebrate the feasts of Mary throughout the liturgical year.
Life of Prayer:
Prayer is a gift of God, and a fundamental need for us; therefore, it is our highest priority. (Const. 65)
The Eucharistic Celebration is the focal point of our day. (Const. 73) Wherever possible, we participate in it daily.
Frequent Eucharistic Adoration
Sacred Scripture – The treasure of the Word of God in personal and communal discernment. We contemplate and celebrate it in the Liturgy and in life.
The Liturgy of the Hours – Every day we celebrate together Lauds as morning prayer and Vespers as evening prayer.
Devotion to our Holy Patrons – Along with Our Lady of Mercy, we claim St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist as patrons of our Institute.
Prayers for the deceased:
Two masses and two days of prayer for each deceased sister of the Institute
One day a month in suffrage for the members of the Rossellian Family, and for our deceased relatives and benefactors
In a spirit of gratitude, we offer suffrages for the Holy Father, the Bishop of the Diocese, the Confessor, and the Chaplain.
The Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy is an international congregation, with seven provinces and two
Our Generalate is in Savona, Italy. Our General Administration consists of our Mother General, assisted by four General Councilors, elected every six years.
Each province is governed by a Provincial Superior, assisted by four councilors, elected every four years. Each local community has a Superior who is co-responsible with the Sisters
for the spiritual and material matters of the community.
Provincial Leadership Council (l to r): Sr. Eileen Marie McGowan, Councillor, Sr. M. Judith Tarozzi, Councillor, Sr. M. Damian Aussi, Councillor, Sr. M. Margaret Curcio, Councillor, Sr. M. Ambrogina Aldeni, Provincial