The idea to found a convent of Basilian Sisters on the territory of Eparchy of Križevci originated by Vladika Dr. Julije Drohobecky who had confidence in God's Providence to achieve his dream.
In a short time three young Croatian girls, born sisters: Anđa, Marta and Jela Smičiklas, from the village Sopote in Žumberak, being in the school at their uncle Vicar General of Eparchy of Križevci Dr. Danijel Šajatović show a potent aspiration for the monastic life. Their decision they confided to their cathehist and Vladika Dr. Julije Drohobecky who overhappy gave them his blessing and they in company of their uncle Dr. Danijel Šajatović were sent in 1908 to to the noviciate at Slovita, Galicia, Western Ukraine. Before their departure he promised to them: «When you'll return, I'll arrange for your convent the convict Julianeum».
After three young sisters made their first vows the First World War has begun. The Convent at Slovita was at the main military line so the sisters were forced to leave the Convent of Slovita to save their lives and the lives of their chargees. Their Superior H. M. Anna Teodorovič in an agreement with the Apostolic Administrator Dr. Dionizije Njaradi sends on 23th August 1915 nine sisters and nine girls to Križevci. To Križevci they arrived on 26th August 1915 and among them were also three Croatian sisters: Anđa S. Augustina, Marta S. Marija and Jela S. Danijela Smičiklas. At the beginning they were accomodated in the curia of Dr. Danijel Šajatović as the Convict Julianeum, former Eparchial orphanage for poor boys, founded by Vladika Julije Drohobecky was under adaptation. So Vladika realized his promise to sisters Smičiklas on their departure to noviciate. On 4th October the Apostolic Administrator Dr. Dionizije Njaradi officially handed over to Sisters for their administration and management Eparchial orphanage Julianeum in Križevci together with all its property with the obligation that the Sisters open Internate for Education of Female Youth of the Eparchy of Križevci. Dr. Dionizije Njaradi cared of all material and spiritual needs as well as for the continuing schooling girls and for the study of sisters.
The convent in Križevci became in 1920 autonomous and H. M. Augustina Smičiklas was nominated as its first superior. At that time the sisters were successfuly running he internate for girls and a small estate.
Sisters began in 1938 building a convent in Sošice, their native Žumberak. They themselves found and bought a site for the convent, made a draft for the building and collected means for its construction. The convent was consecrated on 27th August 1939 and there Sisters up to the begining of the World War Second developed a multiple apostolate. A kindergarten was opened. Housekeeping courses were held for women and girls, the Prayer Apostolate society was founded, every Sunday and holiday spiritual instruction and common prayer of Saint Rosary was conducted and on every first Sunday of the month adoration of the Most Holy Altar Sacrament.
The Second World War caused much of suffering and brought many changes. The convent in Sošice was burned down on 24th September 1942 together with farm buildings and whole inventory. Sisters had to leave their convent. For a while their worked in the elementary school in Plavšinac as headmasters and teachers and in the beginning of 1944 in Karlovac they were organizing and taking over a shelter for children who became orphans in the war. By the end of the war in 1945 Sisters and children's orphanage moved to Zagreb. Although the Greek Catholic Church was willing the communist authorities did not allow to Sisters working with children in the orphanage as well as to work in schools. Therefore the sisters of Križevci Convent were begining tillaging, in Zagreb they were working as parish assistants, cathehists and sacristans at the Greek Catholic Parish of St. Cyril and Methodius and they are acting missionary in Žumberak parishes.
Following the centralization of the Order of St. Basil the Great in 1951 Sisters were leaving for the central home in Rome as an assistance to the sisters in housekeeping and they were also working as housekepers for Cardinal Slipiy in Vatican and in the convent of Studite Fathers in Castel Gandolfo.
Croatian Delegature was established in 1954 and as its delegate was nominated H. M. Augustina Smičiklas. The Croatian Viceprovince of St. Basil and St. Makrina was established in 1963. On the elections for its first Viceprovincial Superior was elected H. M. Vasilija Popović.
To make easier hard agricultural work for sisters H. M. Vasilija Popović in a part of Križevci Convent founded an asylum for infirm old women. Sisters were attending nursing courses and enabled for the work with sick following the model of St. Basil Order's founder who cared for sick, old people and orphans.
The sisters were also academicaly educated at the University of Zagreb as well as at the Cathehetic Institute in Zagreb. In 1957 they founded a convent in Zagreb where they stayed during their schooling, professional education and studying. Sisters from this convent are active at the Greek Catholic Parish of St. Cyril and Methodius as cathehists, sacristans and housekeepers.
In 1957 they began with restoration of a part of the burnt convent in Sošice which was consecrated on 29th June 1959. There they are continuing their apostolic work,singing in the church, visiting old and sick people. Upon a request of Žumberak Decanate priests in 1976 an Ethnographic Museum was opened. The other wing of the convent was built up and consecrated on 10th June 1999 and the Ethnographic Museum was accomodated into a new and bigger place.
In 1972 the convent and religious center for Greek Catholics in Karlovac was consecrated which became a place of the fraternal meeting of Christian East and Christian West so realizing 200 years wish and striving of bishops of the Eparchy of Križevci to open in Karlovac a religious center or parish for Greek Catholic immigrants from Žumberak. The sisters were ecumenically acting among the religious of Eastern and Western Rite up to 2010. The convent is leased to the Eparchy of Križevci and there is now residing a Greek Catholic priest, minister of the Greek Catholic Spiritual Center. So, in Karlovac is still continued a mission started by Basilian Sisters.
In 1979 Vladika Gabrijel Bukatko officialy entrusted Basilian Sisters to care of cultural estate of the Eparchy of Križevci. The sisters are caring of the Cathedral, Eparchial Residence and the rich Library of the Eparchy of Križevci.
In Križevci Sisters were building a new convent consecrated on 8th October 1989, the old convent house was adapted for needs of the Old and Infirm Women's Home. In the beginning od 1990-ties, during the Homeland War, Sisters offered temporary accomodation to refugee children from the war areas in their convent. As the local authority was acquanted about, soon a request for accomodating a few children from the materially endangered families came from the competent institutions. The sisters joyfully accepted the children under their roof, but to be able to offer an adequate acomodation they decided to adapt a farm building into the Children Home. After half a century Sisters got again the permission to work with children and young.
With Lord's help Sisters are continuing their consecrated life, dedicated to the apostolic serving to Greek Catholic Church in Croatia already over hundred years.
The headquarters of the Viceprovince is in Križevci. In this convent reside most of the sisters living together, working and praying there. In Križevci the apostolate is most developed. Sisters are taking care of children, old and infirm women and caring for cultural estate of the Eparchy of Križevci.
Children home was opened and consecrated on 6th September 1997 in eve of the feast of St. Mark Crisiensis. The home is registered by the state authorities as Pavillion for Children of St. Mark of Križevci giving service of accommodation for 20 children (girls and boys) aged 7 to 21 without an adequate parental care. In such a small home Sisters are able to give them a warm familiar atmosphere fulfilled with mutual respect, understanding and love. Sisters are caring for raising and educating children and young as well as for their material, cultural and spiritual needs. Children and young people can themselves realize and creatively express through different workshops, every year Sisters with children make a performance for parents, teachers, doctors, social workers and many benefactors. Once a year they edit the magazine Dom (Home), organize excursions and social meetings as well as vacationing at the seaside.
Home for old and infirm women
In 1969 Sisters founded an asylum for infirm old women in a part of the convent which upon moving Sisters into the new convent and adapting the old house grew up to Home for old and infirm women. The home is registered by the state authorities, its capacity is 17 old and infirm persons. Sisters are caring for the health of accomodated old women as well as for their material and cultural and especially for their spiritual needs. The old women are attending Liturgy every day in the home chapel, together with the Sister Leader they are praying rosary and singing spiritual songs. During the fine weather the old women are staying and strolling in the convent court where they can enjoy the green vegetation and flowers as well as the company of children playing in the court.
Cathedral and Episcopal Residence in Križevci
In 1979 the Cathedral with the Episcopal Residence, a historic monument of the Eastern Church Catholics in Croatia, was entrusted to care and keeping of Sisters. To preserve this historic cultural monument and a pearl of the city of Križevci from decaying Sisters with the great passion and devotion took up the restoration of Cathedral and Residence. Their commenced work of restoration was later continued by the City of Križevci in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and Vladika (bishop). Today the Cathedral and the Residence are enlisted into the Registry of Cultural Estates of the Republic of Croatia and by their beauty they are attracting groups of tourists, pilgrims, students and retired. Sisters are guides through the Cathedral and the Residence which is settled as a museum space where they are explaining Eastern Christian spirituality and iconography, history of the Greek Catholic Church in Croatia as well as the tradition and beauty of the Eastern Liturgy. Sisters have an opportunity to announce the Gospel and to act ecumenically among the Catholics of the Eastern rite and Catholics of the Western rite.
Library of the Eparchy of Križevci
In the Library of the Eparchy of Križevci valuable and old books are preserved. The total fund of the Library amounts 10,667 items. The most valuable fund is represented by the handwritten book Scriptum Pontificale from 1433 (at the same time the oldest book in the Library), three incunabules (books printed in XVth century) and 100 books from XVIth century. Basilian sisters have given a great contribution to preserving, restoration and protection of the Library inventory. They appealed to the cultural public and in a cooperation with the City of Križevci and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia they initiated restoration of the library rooms, preserving the library inventory through a project of restoring and conserving the most valuable fund, promoting the Library through arranging book exhibitions and printing a catalogue. Sisters are receiving interested groups and guiding them through the Library telling them about the value of the fund, about its diversity and its representation of almost all scientific fields what tells us about a great intellectual and cultural knowledge of Vladikas, priests and canons of the Eparchy of Križevci. Sisters proudly show the works of their founder St. Basil the Great being preserved in the Library, a total of 14: Divi Basilii Magni Omnia quae in hunc diem latino sermone ... printed in Paris in 1566, Opera Omnia (Volume 1 and 2) printed in Paris in 1721 and 1722, Opera Omnia printed in Paris in 1730, Ascetica in quatuor partes distributa ... printed in Rome in 1748 (6 volumes) and Tvorenija... printed in Moscow in 1846 and 1849 (4 volumes).
Sisters are further continuing their work on preserving library inventory through programs of restoring and conserving the most valuable books.
Sošice – Convent of Saint Family
In Sošice the sisters are caring for the permanent post of the Ethnographic Museum where the folk creations of Eastern Church Catholics are displayed: work tools, furniture, cooking utensils, costumes etc. Žumberak is ecologicaly a clean area and there are more and more visitors: mountain excursionists, tourists, pilgrims and plain travellers who are gladly hosted in their convent known at large by its Basilian hospitality. Sisters are also cathetizing children and preparing them for their First Communion.
In Zagreb Sisters are active in their convent in Jurjevska Street where they are renting rooms to student girls in a furnished small house in the court. In the Greek Catholoc Seminary they are working as cooks and through their work, carefulness and prayers they are helping seminarists on their way to priesthood. Sisters are also acting at the Greek Catholic Parish of St. Cyril and Methodius as parish assistants and cathehists.
Convent of Basilian Sisters, Križevci
Franje Račkoga 36/38
Tel.: (385) 48 712 171. Fax: (385) 48 271 526