Interview with Sister Kristina Rihar, Superior General of the Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal

by | Feb 10, 2022 | News, Vincentian Family

Sister Kristina, can you tell us about the history of your Congregation and the central figure of its establishment, Mother Leopoldina Brandis, Daughter of Charity, who had the intuition to create a new Congregation?

The beginnings of our Congregation date back to the mid-19th century: the day of its foundation is July 16, 1878. That day, Mother Leopoldina Brandis, a Daughter of Charity, gave the habit to the first three young women. A few years later, seeing that the institute was developing, she also wrote the Rule. This institution was established to help the sick in their homes (home care). The Sisters, called “young nurses,” would stay with the infirm individuals even at night and for long periods of time. During the first 50 years they worked under the direction of the Daughters of Charity. In 1926 an independent congregation was formed in Ljubljana (Slovenia), named,  Congregation of the Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal.

In the first years of your foundation in Slovenia you were called the “Sister Nurses”. How is your service to the sick carried out today? 

Caring for the sick has always been a fundamental activity of the Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal. This ministry has characterized our mission, but the ways of engaging in this ministry have changed over time. In addition to caring for the sick at home, the Sisters agree to work in nursing homes and also in hospitals. Some Sisters are also engaged in education. Today, like many other active congregations, we are suffering from a lack of vocations.

Where do the Sisters exercise their ministry today?

Our Congregation is composed of the two provinces: Slovenia and Croatia and we have Sisters ministering in delegation in Benin, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Nuestra Congregación está conformada por las dos provincias de Eslovenia y Croacia, con una delegación en Benín; las Hermanas de María están también presentes en Italia, Bosnia y Herzegovina, Eslovaquia y Ucrania.

During these difficult days of the worldwide pandemic, what consequences has this had on your service? What challenges have you had to face?

During the first wave of infections, our main concern was to protect the elderly in our residences and the older sisters in our communities, because they were most vulnerable. We also had to deal with the homeless who, overnight, were left with nothing. Today, thanks to the possibilities of vaccination, the concerns have been alleviated and life is flowing more normally.

Sister Kristina, would you provide our readers and website visitors with a spiritual message?

The various tests in personal and social life are always a challenge for the human person , because in those tests, their very being is tested. If these are cultivated deeply and fed with the Living Water, these tests will strengthen us and we will not lack the zeal to continue on the path that Saint Vincent de Paul and Mother Brandis have placed before us.


Elena Grazini




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