In September, 2019 the Basilian Sisters of the Province of Saint Michael in Croatia in the city of Shid, Serbia, solemly opened the jubilee year on the occasion of the 100th centennial of their Province. Most Rev. Bishop Dzudzar, Eparch of St. Michael Eparchy in Serbia, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with the local clergy in the presence of the Province administration, headed by the Provincial Superior Sister Daria Fina, OSBM along with the attendance of numerous guests.
Those present had the opportunity to view the exposition of archival photographs and hear the presentation of Sister Anastazia Pitka, OSBM about the history of the Basilian Sisters in Shid. At the local cemetery the Panachyda service was held for the 10 Sisters buried there. As a rememberance, the Sisters gifted two local parishes with a copy of the icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help. Originally this icon was given to the monastery by Bishop of Krizevci, Dionizij Narjadi, a great benefactor of the Sisters.
A hundred years ago, the sisters from Slovita, forced out by the storm of World War 1, found a haven with the Eparchy of Krizevci. On August 26, 1915, the sisters from the monastery in Slovita, Mother Josyfa Povroznicka, Sister Auvhustyna Smicziklas, Sister Maria Smiczyklas, Sister Vera Provce, Sister Nada Sabol, Sister Alojzia Erdelli, Sister Danyjila Smiczykllas, Sister Mahdalyna Abodycz, and the children whom they cared for, came to Krizevci (todays Croatia).
These are the words of the Chronicle dated Aug 26, 1915: "In the time of the ferocious war when the leaders of nations sent their armies to various parts , our good Lord Jesus Christ sends a small flock from the quiet monastery in Slovita to Krizevci where there was less danger. Due to continued dangers of war Very Rev. Mother Superior Anna Teodorowycz sent the Sisters with the children away from Slovita."
At first a monastery was founded in Krizevci in the fall of 1920 in the Bishop‘s residence in Shid (today’s Serbia). On September 9, 1920 Mother Anna Teodorowycz, Sister Maria Dolzhnycka, Sister Judyta Bojczuk, Sister Joanna Buczko, as well as two candidates Maria Riczicz and Kateryna Czerepan (eventually Sister Kateryna) and two orphans Sophia Manzcak and Maria Czerepan were sent with the goal of founding a monastery with an orphanage. They were supposed to reside at the former summer residence of Bihop Narjadi, so that this way the property would be saved from confiscation by the government which happened to the rest of the Bishop’s holdings. With the permission of Centralnog sabiralista sirocadi in Zagreb this was to provide a safe place for Greek Catholic children, especially war orphans.
On November 19,1920 the novitiate was solemnly opened in Shid. Mother Anna Teodorowycz was both Superior and Mistress of Novices. At the request of Bishop Narjadi and Father Rector Vishishevycz the sisters from Shid began to serve at the seminary in Zagreb. In July, 1936 the sisters opened a branch monastery in the village of Miklushevci with dorms and in June, 1939 they founded a monastery in Osijek, Croatia. Due to the circumstances of war in 1945 the seat of the Provincial Superior was changed to Osijek, which after centralization became the seat of the Province of St. Michael the Archangel.
The Monastery in Shid lived through the difficult year of WWII and the war in Yugoslvia in 1990. During the last war, being situated on the boundary of present Serbia and Croatia, Shid found itself cut-off from the rest of the houses of the Province. In difficult times during the war several elderly sisters and an Sister Vira Korpa and Sister Vzevija Dzvijnyk. And it was Sisters Vira and Evzevija that were the last to leave Shid after the closing of the monastery in 2002.
The history in the Monastery in Shid is unique. In the past, the Basilian Sisters lived here. They became foundresses of different branches of the Order: M Maria Dolzhnycka, M Sophronia Erdeli. M Monica Polanska used to come to Shid to visit her aunt M Anna Teodorowycz. In 1928 Metropolitan Andrew Sheptycky visited the monastery in Shid. and on March 23 1939, Fr. Auhustyn Woloshyn, Premier of Subcarpatian Ukraine came also.
These are the places of our strenghth, our rememberances where we can thank God for all the blessings, all those generations of holy sacrificial Sisters who lived, prayed and worked here keeping the monastic life on these grounds preparing the way for new generations.
Translated by Sr. Maria Rozmarynowych and Sr. Irenea Hankewych, OSBM