Houses of GENERALATE DISTRICT - Zarevbrod

 Zarevbrod in Bulgaria


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    Zarevbrod  / Bulgaria

  • On January 10, 1914, four sisters were sent to Endjé, later called Zarevbrod. In the German emigrants community they were to take over school teaching, pastoral care and service to the sick. In 1948 all but two German sisters left the Communist Peoples' Republic to return to Germany after their work had become more and more limited. The other two remained with the Bulgarian sisters. They lived and worked in a home for mentally challenged people. In 1990, after the end of the communist regime, the sisters won back their freedom and new missionaries joined the brave community once again. They devote themselves mainly to the predominantly poor population. Website

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    History of Zarevbrod in Bulgaria

    Historical Background

    Freed from the Turkish Regime in 1878, the Bulgarian King Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg invited German farmers and tillers to come and teach the Bulgarians farming methods. Some farmers settled in Endje, presently Zarevbrod. Together with them was a German Passionist priest Father Franz Krings. In 1910 he built a church. Conscious of the need of teaching Christian catechism to the German children, Fr. Krings asked from the Motherhouse of Tutzing for sisters to help him. Thus, four German Sisters came on January 14, 1914 and in a makeshift classroom, they started teaching the children and youth, preparing them for First Communion. One Sister was engaged in the health apostolate, another in sewing and embroidery of church linens and vestments.

    The production of the skin ointment from marigold flowers and oil from lily flowers, popular in Bulgaria and abroad, because of its effectiveness, was popularized by our German sisters. Aside from the ointments, they also prescribed herbal plants for healing.

    In 1918, the mission had to be temporarily closed due to the First World War. In 1920, seven Sisters traveled back to Bulgaria and continued their mission with great zeal. The apostolate flourished and the community expanded. Soon the first Bulgarian candidates entered and on October 20, 1925 three Bulgarian Novices made their first profession. In 1922, the mission branched out to Bardarski-Geran and in 1926, to Dragomirovo. These two villages are in Danube River area. The Sisters established a Kindergarten and an orphanage and also continued their health apostolate.

    Four Pioneer Sisters

    School Apostolate

    Zarevbrod 1920



    A turbulent period for the monastery started in 1944, when Russian soldiers entered Bulgaria and some of them were posted in Zarevbrod to keep close watch of the movement in the monastery. Consequently, thirteen German Sisters had to go back to their homeland. The remaining twelve German Sisters were put in a concentration camp for one year. Thereafter the Motherhouse in Tutzing called all of them back to Germany. However, two Sisters requested to remain and stay with the Bulgarian Sisters. When the Sisters encountered the greatest period of terror, Dr. Anna Genkova, a friend of the Sisters, proposed to them to offer a part of the convent to the Ministry of Health to be used as a Hospital for mentally handicapped. The Sisters had for their disposal the chapel, some small rooms, the cellar, the attic and a portion of the yard.

    Throughout the following more than 40 years the Sisters, sustained by God's faithfulness, continued their mission in silence and in suffering. They were allowed to wear their habit only inside the compound. Their work was very much appreciated by the hospital personnel and the outside people held them in high esteem.

    Hospital in Zarevbrod

    The community was out of contact with the Congregation until in the late sixties when initial meetings between the Bulgarian Sisters and the Generalate took place, first in Croatia and later in Bulgaria. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first two German missionaries, Sr. Quirina Seidl and Sr. Barbara Döring were sent to Bulgaria in 1992. Since then missionaries from Germany, Korea, Philippines, Brazil, Poland and Namibia have worked and are still working in the Lord's vineyard, in Zarevbrod and since 2000 in Sekirovo, southern part of Bulgaria, Diocese of Plovdiv.


    First Communion in Sekirovo

    Faith Sharing with the Elderly

    Summer Camp with Children and Youth

    The present community of Zarevbrod, composed of four Sisters, aside from producing the skin ointment, "mexlem", is engaged in interreligious relationships by its very presence in the village, where the great majority of the population is Orthodox or Muslim. The Sisters do pastoral work, facilitate summer camps with the help of young Bulgarian animators and network with other institutions, like elementary school and Kindergartens. They welcome foreigners and local tourists, giving them an experience of Benedictine hospitality. The only remaining Bulgarian Sister, Sr. Bernadetta, takes care of the flower garden, especially the roses and the marigold flowers. An ecological project is being initiated through a herbal garden. At present the former guest and parish house is undergoing a major renovation and afterwards the convent will need huge repairs.

    Sekirovo, unlike Zarevbrod, has a mostly catholic population. The four Sisters are working in St. Michael parish. They take care of cleaning and decorating the church, are responsible for First Communion preparation, Bible Sharing and choir practices. During summer, they organize children's camps. One Sister teaches English and trains Mass lectors.

    The mission in Bulgaria is a unique one, in the sense that until now the consequences of more than forty years of Communist regime, where religion was totally suppressed, are still strongly felt. However, the life of our former Sisters who endured persecution and yet persevered, as well as the actual material and spiritual poverty of the people strongly commits us to continue this mission.

    Sr. Bernadetta taking care of the flower garden

    That in all things God may be glorified!


    Gallery of Zarevbrod in Bulgaria

    Eight sisters live in two communities:

    Zarevbrod community in the Northern Diocese of Russe and Sekirovo community in the Southern Diocese of Sofia /Plovdiv. With the democratic developments, the first thing to be done was to find a NEW APOSTOLATE that suits the present situation. This necessity appeared as soon as the Bulgarian Catholic Church came out in the open together with the faith that had survived in the hearts of many and a small parish community started to emerge and develop.

    Today, 72 - 80 believers are regular members of the catholic faith.
    On Sundays, 30 - 40 people from Shumen and Zarev brod come regularly for Mass.




    ul. Prof. Ivan Ivanov Nr. 2 / BG-9747 Zarevbrod, Schumensko, BULGARIA


    00359-5315-2089 / -2136


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