Kindergarten at Kiseljak
St Francis Kindergarten was the first building project undertaken by Arthur and his directors back in 2005. It was a scary project as the Tsunami had taken place on 26th December 2004 and people from all over the world were donating funds to help the thousands of people affected.
However, a promise had been made to Sr Jelenka, who was Franciscan Provincial at that time, and to Sr Dominika who would be in charge of the Kindergarten. By some miracle, almost €600,000 was raised and the school was built. There were plans for a Convent on the upper floor but we had not made a commitment for that second stage.
As the building took shape it became central to the work of charity and part of our hearts. After a while, Arthur and the directors very much wanted to complete the school and the convent area. And so it came to be. In January 2006, the first 60 children started out on their school life on a building site! The work was far from finished but that did not deter the intrepid Sisters.
On 16th October 2007, Cardinal Puljic with many Franciscan priests concelebrating, said the first Mass in the Convent chapel and blessed the lovely building.
On 1st October 2016, the 10th anniversary of the school was celebrated in style. Arthur was represented by five of his directors from both sides of the Irish sea. It was a day to remember as the children did some Irish dancing followed by dancing in the Bosnian style. This was followed by a play written by a Franciscan priest about how the Kindergarten came to be built.
The Sisters and staff are extremely creative and the play was a masterpiece. These wonderful little children played their parts as Franciscan Sisters or Friars with style and confidence. The grounds were originally an orchard until one of the Friars had the idea of building a school. Ah! Where to find the money? That takes big bucks!
Needless to say, along came Arthur played by a clever boy who spoke Croatian rather better than Arthur did in real life! He brought hope to the Sisters, joined them in prayer and the rest is history. We are grateful to all of you who helped in any way to complete this great kindergarten. We wrote on our first website “this building will stand proud for centuries!” It has been doing wonderful work and shining like a bright light in a dark world for its first decade. Long may it last.
Arthur McCluskey is remembered with love and gratitude. His photograph in the entrance hall greets each visitor and the colours of Ireland remind all of how that school was built.
If you would like to fund poor children to Kindergartens at Kiseljak or Bijelo Polje, it would be greatly appreciated.