Martyrs from Drina River

S. Zofia Szymanek

S.M. Jula Ivanisevic

She was born on 25 February in 1893 in Godinjak in Croatia. She learnt well in the primary school but after the fourth year she had to be exempt from the lessons 'because of her poverty'. Staying at home she was helping her parents with housework and farm work. Among her siblings she stood out as a child of kindness and obedience towards her parents. She liked reading hagiography and then telling her friends about it. She discovered her early desire to devote her life to Jesus. She used to say that she wanted to be a martyr.
In 1914 she joined the Convent of the Daughters of Divine Love. She was characterized by: devotion to her duties, love towards monastic vocation, peace of heart, serenity and patience towards different experiences coming from her deep trust in Divine Providence. She spent much time on her knees in a monastery chapel. She spoke to Holy Spirit and Blessed Virgin Mary with special devotion.
In 1932 she was nominated Mother Superior of the convent in Pale. Thanks to her there was a spirit of mutual understanding, prayer, devotion and love. In one of her letters she writes: 'We all are weak and poor, as long as we live in this world, therefore we need a lot of God's grace and help. Pray often, even though briefly as only a prayer will save us from death'.
She confirmed her love to her convent on 11 December 1941 by giving up the possibility of escape and joining her sisters. She was killed by Chetnik soldiers on 15 December 1941 at the age of 48.

S. Berchmana Leidenix

She was born on 28 November1865 in Enzersdorf in Austria. She gained her pedagogical education in a Teachers' University run by Sisters of the Convent of the Daughters of Divine Love. In 1881 she decided to join this convent. After her perpetual monastic vows she worked as a teacher in schools of the convent in Tunisia and Sarajevo very eagerly and with much devotion, she was also serving as a mistress of noviciate for five years. She gave an example to young sisters how to unite with God, constant and trustful prayer, faithful observance of monastery and religious rules, punctuality and controlling oneself.
Her words remained: 'I am very grateful to God for two things: that I was born and brought up in the Catholic faith and that I became a nun'.
She was characterized by: her deep and sincere piety, strong faith, high personal good manners, humility and modesty which resulted in her patience and trusting God's will at her old age and illness. She died as a martyr, killed by Chetnik soldiers at the age of 76.

S. Krizina Bojanc

She was born on 14 May 1885 in Zbure in Slovenia. She stayed at home till the age of 36, doing housework and farm work. She joined Convent of the Daughters of Divine Love in Sarajevo in 1921. She was in different convents, devoutly fulfilling her hard work in monastery household.
She ran a deep spiritual life, distinguishing herself with her love to Jesus present in Eucharist and God's Mother. She was characterized by: her simplicity of life, readiness to devotions, hardworking and modesty. She was also distinguished by sincere love to sisters and every person. She was able to choose harder and more arduous work, leaving easier duties to others. Her sacrificial and hardworking life, devoted to God and people was a preparation for her martyrdom on 15 December 1941 at the age of 56.

S. Antonija Fabjan

She was born on 23 January 1907 in Maly Lipje in Slovenia. She began her monastery life at the age of 22. She was distinguished by her love to prayer and her vocation, conscientiousness and diligence. She often visited a chapel during a day, devoting her work and duties to God. She paid attention to others' needs and always hurried to help them. The motto of her life was : 'If somebody does wrong to you, you do good to them'. She died on 15 December 1941 at the age of 34.

S. Bernadetta Banja

She was born on 17 June 1912 in Wielki Grdvacu in Croatia. She was a joyful and serene child. Her mature life of prayer was already seen at her very early age. She often looked for loneliness in order to pray with rosary and think about God and His Mother. She also recognized the voice of her vocation. She began her monastery life at the age of 17. Her first and last outpost was Pale. She worked in a kitchen there. She often united with God through her thoughts and heart during a day, saying the Aspirations. The prayer resulted in her sincere kindness towards others, her devotion and gratitude for everything. Despite her everyday effort, she never complained about anything or anybody. She was characterized by constant serenity. On 15 December 1941, at the age of 29, she gave her life with her sisters in defence of faith and religious purity.


"Niedziela" 38/2011

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: