During this difficult period of her life, Martinez is said to have been inspired by the Blessed Virgin Mary to establish a new religious order dedicated to the education of children, the formation of adolescents, and the assistance of single mothers.
She received approval from the local bishop of Ugento, Monsignor Giuseppe Ruotolo, and in 1943 the Daughters of Santa Maria di Leuca received formal papal approval.
The daughters ministered to those suffering during World War II, giving special care to the poor.
Despite her continued illness and frail condition, Martinez worked diligently to spread the congregation’s good work throughout Italy and even to Switzerland, Belgium, and the United States.
Martinez had a great dedication to adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, which gave her the strength to abandon herself to God’s hands and trust in Divine Providence, according to the Dicastery of the Causes of Saints’ website.
“She lived in the presence of God, and this was reflected in everything she did,” says the dicastery’s website. “Heroic hope took the form of the ability to wait, without complaining and without breaking down, trusting in the Lord’s timing to complete his projects.”
Martinez died in Rome on Feb. 8, 1991. She was declared a venerable servant of God by Pope Francis on Oct. 13, 2021.
With the approval of the miracle attributed to her intercession, Martinez can now be advanced to the level of beatification, one step away from sainthood.
Pope Francis also recognized the heroic virtues of five other individuals today: Italian Franciscan friar and priest Giuseppe di Sant’Elpidio (1885–1974), Brazilian priest Aloisio Sebastiao Boeing (1913–2006), Italian nun Margherita Lussana (1852–1935), Spanish lay faithful Francisca Ana Maria Alcover Morell (1912–1954), and Italian mother Albertina Violin Zirondoli (1901–1972). These individuals’ causes for canonization will now advance to the level of venerable servant of God.
Peter Pinedo is a DC Correspondent for CNA. A graduate of Franciscan University, Peter previously worked for Texas Right to Life. He is a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve.