Saints and Martyrs

Sr. M. Jula Ivanišević

Sister M. Jula Ivanišević baptized as Kata, was born on December 25, 1893, in Staro Petrovo Selo, Slavonia, as the eighth of eleven children born to Nikola Ivanišević and Terezija Simunovic. She spent her childhood and adolescence there, as well as finished primary school. When Jula turned 18, she expressed her desire to enter a convent. Since Jula’s mother strongly opposed her decision, she entered it after her mother's death in 1914.

She took her vows on August 16, 1916. At first, she served in convents of the Daughters of Divine Charity in Breške and Josipovac near Tuzla and Betanija near Sarajevo. Jula served at the National Orphanage in Zagreb for less than a year from where she was sent to Mary’s home in Pale and appointed as sister superior of the community, a function she performed for the rest of her life, apart from one short pause.

Sr. Jula’s hospitality and kindness made everybody feel welcome in Pale. The Chronicle of the St. Joseph Institute in Sarajevo (1931 - 1941) noted that children and mothers, students and teachers, priests and bishops, the poor and the rich, travelers, as well as, refugees and exiles could always stop by, rest and pray in Mary's home. 

Even from an early age, she was said to be pure kindness.  All those who knew her as a nun said the same. As a sister in Christ and as the superior of the community she was very helpful to her fellow sisters even if that meant sleeping on the floor and letting her sisters sleep in her bed. Three of her fellow sisters said and wrote the following things about Sr. M. Jula Ivanišević: Sr. M. Hubert Ciglar said: "She was loved not only by her fellow sisters but the people from our village and neighboring villages, as well. She was always smiling. She wanted to cheer everybody up. She showed great affection to those weak children from the state orphanage. She took them to that old house and did everything for the children to get better.

Sr. M. Ela Boras wrote: "She was calm, her smiling, but serious at the same time, she radiated with nobility and holiness ..."

Sr. M. Imakulata Orban wrote: “S. Jula led the way and her fellow sisters followed. I had that indescribable feeling that sister Jula was an angelic soul - a pure, complete person, always in a good mood, dynamic, friendly, and ready to help. She was committed to her beliefs and full of enthusiasm for their profession. As a sister superior she was prudent and fair. To her subordinates she was a real sister and a true mother, so they loved and respected her.”

In November of 1941 Sr. Jula wrote to her sister: "We live in difficult times and evil is stronger every day. We, here, as those fighting on the front line, are under constant gunfire, day and night, experiencing all kinds of fear.

Great evil and troubles have risen everywhere. All we see around us is how everything is being destroyed, set on fire, robbed, taken away and people becoming wild, worse than wild beasts. We are still, thank God, alive and well. We are waiting to see what God has in store for us... You can't even imagine what it is like here. If we stay alive and meet, then I will tell you, but it would be a miracle from God for us to get out alive from this evil.

Pray for me to keep going and good luck to all get through, because we are all weak and fear the torment and distress. Pray for me to persevere and to be lucky enough to get through all of this, because we are all weak and fear the torment and distress."
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