The Servant of God, Mother Elisa Martinez, was born in the town of Galatina (Lecce – Southern Italy) on 25 March 1905. At a young age, she resolved to commit herself to a holy life. On 19 March 1938, she founded the Pious Unione of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (Pia Unione delle Suore dell’Immacolata ). Her inspiration came from Mary’s gesture of thoughtfulness of visiting her cousin, Elisabeth, and from the gospel pronounced by our Good Shepherd, Jesus who said: “Whatever you have done unto the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done unto me”. (Mt 25:40). She devoted her time and energy to the outcast, prisoners, unmarried mothers and abandoned children through Parish Catechesis and the teaching of young children.
On 15 August 1941 the Bishop of Ugento, Mons. Giuseppe Ruotolo, established the Pious Union of Diocesan Right changing its name to “Daughters of Saint Mary of Leuca” in honour of the most important Marian Shrine in the region of Salento. In the meantime the congregation had spread out into various parts of Italy and was granted the Decree of Pontifical Right in 1943.
On February 1991, at the end of a long life dedicated to glorifying God, honouring the Virgin Mary and tending to the needs of her underprivileged brothers and sisters, she finally joined the Divine Spouse. Having passed through a furnace of deep suffering and incomprehension, upon passing away Mother Elisa was full of the purified gold of worthiness. She left a great legacy of 55 religious communities located in eight different countries with 600 beloved daughters who have disseminated her divine charism with unwavering loyalty.
Her reputation for holiness continues to grow and her tomb attracts many pilgrims coming to ask her intercede to God on their behalf.
O God, thank you for having called
Mother Elisa Martinez to your Church;
she followed in the footsteps
of the Immaculate Virgin Mary,
uttered her consent generously
and turned her own life
in an offering in your name,
devoting herself with motherly love
to provide comfort to the little children,
to the lowly and to the afflicted.
See fit to glorify her
and through her intercession
and if you so will,
grant us grace that
we fervently beg of you. Amen.
Glory to the Father…