The history of Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul – Zagreb began in 1845 when six Sisters of Charity from the Austrian Province of Tyrol came to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. The province had its motherhouse in Zams, and traced its origin to Strassburg. The crucial person for the spreading of Vincent de Paul’s charism to Croatia was Cardinal Juraj (George) Haulik van Varalya (1788-1869), the archbishop of Zagreb. He had built the church and convent for the sisters before they arrived in Zagreb in 1845. According to the Charter of Foundation (written by Cardinal Haulik), the sisters were supposed to minister to the needs of the sick and the poor in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. Also, it was planned that sisters would begin their service in education. The idea of founding a convent for women religious was present in the mind of bishop Haulik from the very beginning of his bishop’s service. This idea had its roots in his awareness that Zagreb, and Croatia in general, needed a spiritual and cultural revival. Knowing their spirituality and dedicating service to God and man he decided to entrust the demanding task to Austrian Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The sisters lived their vocation with great fervor and dedication and soon they began to attract new vocations. Many Croatian girls joined them and they were able to establish new communities outside Zagreb. The convent in Zagreb was joined to its Motherhouse in Zams for eleven years. At the initiative of Cardinal Haulik it became independent in 1856. The life of sisters from its very beginning has been inspired by the spirit of the original Rule (Common Rules) of St. Vincent de Paul (which was used by all Austrian Sisters of Charity at the time). Also, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac have originally been its heavenly patrons.
Today there are about 800 members of Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul – Zagreb, living in 116 communities, in 16 countries around the world (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Italy, Argentina, Paraguay, USA, Germany, Austria, Solomon Islands, Canada, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, France, and Uruguay).
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