In the joy of the Paschal season, on Saturday after Easter, the Daughters of Charity of the Province of Slovenia gathered with the members of the Vincentian Family and their friends near the Church of Saint Joseph in Celje. This is where the first Vincentian priests of the Austrian Province came in 1852. And it is the same place where we thanked the Lord for the 100 years of the establishment of our Province of, then Yugoslavia, now Slovenia. Superior General, Father Tomaž Mavrič, Cardinal Franc Rode, Bishops, Vincentian priests, as well as other priests were with us.
The celebration started with adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, followed by the admission of the new Affiliates of the Daughters of Charity.
The Academy went back over the one-hundred-years’ life of the Province by singing and short scenes. Then, the Superior General, in his address, summarized the history of the Province and encouraged us as we look toward the future. He began by invoking the image of the Jubilee: the Crucified Christ and at his side, Saint Vincent, Saint Louise, and the Servant of God, Sister Léopoldine Brandis, foundress of the Province of Graz (our province) … we were establish after the First World War, when new countries were formed and, consequently, new provinces also.
Sister Léopoldine Brandis, faithful to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, brought the first sisters to Slovenia: to Maribor in 1843 and to Ljubljana in 1852. Moreover, to watch over the sick at night, she established a new Community on our soil, the Daughters of the Sick (today, known as the Congregation of the Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal). Sister Léopoldine Brandis, through the ministry of the Sisters, sowed the love of God among those who were most poor.
Under the new State of Yugoslavia, the Sisters could no longer be dependent on the Superiors of Graz, and so on 5 April 1919, the new Province was established. Since then, 100 years have passed. The Province flourished. New vocations arose. Permeated with the love of God the Sisters were able to engage in their mission of charity, striving to be faithful to the spirit of the Company and their Founders. St the end of Second World War in 1945, the Province then numbered more than 1200 Sisters.
The war ended and with the new Communist regime, the Sisters gradually were expelled from all their institutions. First, the educators, then, on 8 March 1948, the last Sisters were dismissed from their service in the hospitals. They could stay there if they were willing to leave the Company. Although now homeless, they were not forgotten by Divine Providence. Their houses were seized and some Sisters were imprisoned. Many others moved to Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia. The provincial house was transferred from Slovenia to Belgrade (in Serbia). The seminary was reopened. The candidates came from Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Slovenia.
Since the fall of Communism and other political changes, Providence still guides the Sisters. The provincial house, with the seminary, was transferred back to Slovenia. The signs of the time showed that it was time to found the Region of Albania-Kosovo. The future is in front of us. Jesus remains our first and only love. All is for Him. The Blessed Virgin will show us the paths to the poorest, to the people of the peripheries.
The afternoon Mass of thanksgiving, presided by Cardinal Franc Rode, C.M., with the Superior General, Father Tomaž Mavrič, the Archbishops, Bishops, Vincentian priests, and other priests, who collaborate with the Daughters of Charity as concelebrants, was the highlight of the day and provided us with an opportunity to give thanks for all the graces that have been bestowed on the Province during its 100 years of existence.
On that same day, the book, The Gift of Mary, was published. It details the answers to prayers granted through the intercession of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Thus, we were able to offer it to all those who were celebrating with us.
Sr. Davorina, DC and Sr. Cveta Jost, DC