The “Mother Krispina” house in Medjugorje is otherwise known as the “Kay Centre” or “Women’s Refuge”. Fr Slavko Barbaric developed Mother’s Village in 1996 to provide a safe haven for children whose parents were killed during the war.
With help from pilgrims to Medjugorje who raised funds in their own countries, seven houses were built. Fr Slavko decided that one of the houses was to be used for victims of domestic abuse, addiction and unwanted pregnancies.
Fr Slavko died suddenly on Krisevac (Cross Mountain) on Friday, 24th November 2000 after leading the Way of the Cross for parishioners and pilgrims. Fr Svetozar Kraljevic took over as director of Mother’s Village and was inspired to relocate the “Refuge” to a “lost, dilapidated building” which was a short distance away.
Of course, the land had to be bought first which was not a simple matter! An Irish lady called Kay Barry came to the rescue and provided funds to purchase the land and derelict building. Kay had brought humanitarian aid to Bosnia Herzegovina for many years through her organisation “Aid to Bosnia”.
Fr Svet says “through Providence, God led the work every step of the way. Then we gave the project to the Sisters to be their project and charism”. 2005 was a new beginning for their mission as they moved out of Mother’s Village.
As the years passed, the centre was named Mother Krispina after a Franciscan Sister whose “begging” efforts resulted in an orphanage being opened in Mostar in 1899. Since then, all Franciscan “shelters” are named after her.
Fr Slavko’s motto “to serve life” is alive and well in their daily struggles to protect the unborn. The Refuge has been helping women in need, and their children, for 20 years. The most common reasons why they seek help are: domestic violence, unwanted pregnancies and addictions.
The Franciscan Sisters and lay staff see their mission as receiving these wounded souls with love, understanding and without judgement. They help them to find ways out of their difficult situations and take care of all their needs – food, clothing, medical and legal assistance.
The most important thing they give is spiritual help; that is, hope that in the name of Jesus Christ all wounds can be healed and they can be liberated from any form of slavery. Therefore, the life of the community is based primarily on prayer – Holy Mass, confession, spiritual guidance and so on.
Over the years, they were blessed by God’s amazing Providence mainly through pilgrims and people who had open hearts for the poorest. They also sold handcrafted souvenirs made by the women which is now impossible. They have never been helped by the state or any state institution. The Lord has always found ways to support them and their mission.
Then came the pandemic. The past six months have been extremely difficult. Currently there are ten women and four children living in the community but the future looks extremely difficult and closure may be forced upon them.
Maintenance costs (water, electricity, internet, garbage collection), costs of food, medicine and the minimum personal income for employees is about €8,000 per month. They would be grateful for ANY help and say “every little drop in the Ocean of God’s love is precious”.
Arthur McCluskey Foundation has been asked if we can find some support so that this mission can continue. Please read their leaflet and see the wonderful work they are doing – preventing terminations and enabling mothers to keep their babies or have them adopted. Life is precious. They need YOUR help!
Fr Svet wrote to encourage our support and said “Do what you can do and do it with the love of God for those who are most in need”. Those words are for all of you who read this article.
Please click “Donate Now” and chose “Women’s Refuge Medjugorje” from the dropbox if you would like to support this project. Thank you.