Benedictine monasticism in Croatia
“In the world, but not of the world”, are the words that could be used to describe this monastic community and its direction in life.
“In the world, but not of the world”, are the words that could be used to describe this monastic community and its direction in life. Based on evangelical values, carried by love for God and man and guided by “own” rules, in the middle of the city and its life, the community survived for almost a millennium. The mentioned “own” rule is actually the “Rule” of St. Benedict, which he, the father of Western monasticism, wrote for his sons and daughters to realize his monastic ideal, he prays and works. The basic rhythm of life in the monastery is given by the prayer with which the day begins and ends and is permeated entirely by it. It is performed individually and jointly. The latter is mainly the official prayer of the Church, that is, the prayer of the Hours, which is performed seven times a day for the needs of the Church and the world. The source and peak of this liturgical prayer is found in the Eucharistic celebration, around which the prayer of the hours revolves as if it were its center. But prayer is not the only activity that occupies the time, attention and strength of every nun. There is also daily multifaceted work that prayer inspires and sanctifies. The effort and effort it requires, whether it is intellectual or physical activity, the sisters also turn into their gift to the God for whom they live. Work is, therefore, an essential component of their lives, through which they imitate their Lord, Teacher and Betrothed, Jesus Christ. Through their work, they also express solidarity with all the workers of the world and assume responsibility and care for the world and the society in which they live. All this is done in monastic separation and inner concentration, which enables and facilitates the coexistence and mutual permeation of contemplation and action to which every Christian is called.
History of the community
Information about the first members of this monastic community is very scarce. But from the document on the establishment of the monastery, we learn the name of the first abbess – Euphemia. By all accounts, she was from Trogir, a member of a respectable noble family, which until the 18th century was a condition for the possibility of entering the community. Then the possibility was introduced that daughters of nobles from other places could enter the monastery, and in the 19th century, during the time of Abbess Skolastika Croatto, other girls who were not from noble families were also allowed to enter the monastery. Due to the great distance in time, and even more so due to the difficult circumstances in which the community found itself during its history, many historical data were irretrievably lost. Thus, its passage through time, lasting almost a millennium, remains largely hidden from us. However, we do know something. Throughout history, the community kept the essentials and changed the secondary, taking into account the time it lives in, the circumstances it finds itself in, and the opportunities it has at its disposal. The supporting pillars of that vitality were prayer and work, on which she built the arrangement of her life, but their form changed over time. For example, until the 60s of the last century and the liturgical renewal at the Second Vatican Council, the official prayer was performed exclusively in Latin. Intellectual and manual work, which was represented in accordance with the “Rule”, also experienced its own changes. For centuries, nunneries have been engaged in raising and teaching children and young people, primarily girls. This lesson ranged from reading, writing, religious studies, handicrafts to music and piano lessons. But it was not until 1826, during the time of Abbess M. Skolastika Buccareo, that the first female elementary school with public rights was officially established in the monastery. In 1903/4 a public general women’s folk school in Croatian and Italian is opened, which operates until 1908/9. Ten years later, in 1918. Koludrice opens a private school for teaching children. In 1921, a kindergarten for boys and girls from 3 to 6 years old was opened, and in 1934, Koludrice opened a private vocational school “for teaching girls in manual work, machine and hand, as well as in artistic embroidery”. Koludrice were excellent in various handicrafts, especially in embroidery, making liturgical vestments and lacework, and they made them for many generations of Trogir and the surrounding area. During and after the Second World War, they lived on manual labor because all other possibilities of action were denied to them, and many lands and buildings in their possession were confiscated.
The numerical state of the community varied from one to thirteen koludrica. In 1274, there were thirteen of them, in 1579. eight, and at the beginning of the 17th century eleven. In the first half of the 18th century, two or three nuns lived in the monastery, while in 1730 there was only one old woman. Then from the local monastery of St. Peter was joined by nun Perina Michieli in order to renew her life in the monastery of St. Nicholas. This proved to be a wise decision, and in the second half of the 18th century the community counted five or six koludrica. In 1826, history repeated itself and once again the community remained on only one mill. It was Scholastic Buccareo, a woman of faith and full of trust in God who, despite the fact that she was left alone, opened a school in the monastery with the help of some lay people. That’s how life in him continued to flow. Year In 1850, there were only three nuns in the monastery