Our members vocations
Fr. Ignaz Domej
I was born in 1957 at Klagenfurt (Carinthia / Austria). Together with my two younger brothers I grow up on the farm of my parents in Rinkolach near Bleiburg (Carinthia / Austria). When I was a litle boy, I wanted to become a priest - especially when I serviced as acolyte at the holy mass. To have the possibility to realize this intention, my parents sent me to the "Neusprachliches Bundesgymnasium der Slowenen", a secondary school at Klagenfurt, which ends with a degree allowing to study at the university. But, at the end of secondary school, my inner intention to become a priest faded more and more, and so I decided to study electrical engineering at Vienne (Austria).
Quite soon I recognized and felt, that the studies on electrical engineering could not give me what I was looking for. But, I continued my studies to bring to an end what I had begun. To support myself and my studies, I worked towards the end of my studies as technical draftsman. I finished my studies as a certified engineer of industrial electronics and regulation technique. At this time, I felt a deep inner emptiness, and I tried to fill it up by far eastern meditation techniques and wisdoms of far eastern religions.
My life was completely changed on a journey to Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), where, as it is said, the Virgin Mary was seen by six children. Again, I deeply felt the voice of God to follow Him. At the eucharist I clearly knew: The Lord is calling me! I have to follow him without any restrictions! I prayed to God, and I formed my decision to become a priest. I confided my decision in the bishop of my home diocese, Dr, Egon Kapellari, and I began my studies on theology , again at Vienna. During my studies, I worked as certified engineer at Siemens Austria in Vienna.
At this time, I was frequently invited to give lectures on Medjugorje, and to conduct and accompany pilgrimages to this special place. Many people came to ask for advice and help - it was a time full of activities, full of the sense and spirit of Medjugorje.
At the beginning of 1988, during the Marian Year of 1987/88, I took part in the beginning of the life of the new franciscan communities in Italy, which derived from groups inspired by the spirit of Medjugorje.
In Vienna, I finished my studies on theology. On June 27th, 1998, I was consecrated at Gurk (Carinthia) and became a priest.
Sr. Danica Lesko
In 1940, I was born at Blatnica, a small village in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I had six brothers and sisters, but my younger sisters - they were twins - have already died. My father did not come back from the second world war, and my mother was left with us children alone. My family was very poor. Therefore, I had to help at home and to take care of my brothers and sisters. With great pleasure I prayed to God, I went to services and to scriptures. I wanted to become a nun!
But I had to earn money for my family. So, at the age of eighteen, I started to work - as a cook.
In 1981, the Mother of God appeared in Medjugorje, and I intensified my prayers, more and more, and my longing to a life in God became stronger and stronger. One day, I knew, that God wants me to live in a convent. The community of praying people, a community in the spirit of Medjugorje I belonged to, helped me to find an answer to the Lords call. In the community "Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace", where I do live now, I have found a big family, a family allowing me to take care of them - with prayers and daily work.
On July 11th, 2011, Sr. Danica has passed away to God after a long time of illness.
Sr. Ivanka Vasilj
I am Croatian, born in 1967 at Ljubuški (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Hidden in my family, I grew up, together with my brothers and sisters, at Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), where we lived, and I was very happy. In my familiy, I had my first experiences with God. But, at no time I thought on a life in a monastery. I wanted to become a medical doctor - to help people. Thus, I went to the secondary school of medical techniques.
When I was fourteen, the Mother of God appeared to six young people of my age at my home village, at Medjugorje. This changed and impressed my whole life and led, slowly, to my vocation. I discovered the beauty and power of prayers, and more and more, I set Jesus into the focus of my life.
My relations to God became stronger and stronger, and I discovered, that the things of this world could not make me happy. I felt myself strongly loved by Jesus and His Mother, and I soon knew, that only God is able to make me truly happy. But He needed my decision, my "yes". I have prayed in the silence of my heart for several years, thinking about my vocation.
After I had finished my studies on medical techniques, I decided to become a nun. In my opinion, now as a nun it is much easier to fulfil my primary intention to help people. I try to bring them to Jesus, who helps them much more effectively, and who makes them well. That´s my pleasure and satisfaction.
Fr. Michele Pezzini
I was born in 1962 at Brescia (Italy). My early years I have spent at Predore (Italy). After having finished secondary school, I worked in the tourist business of my parents. In 1986, I obtained the truth and mercy of God in a very special way. I perceived the salutary blessing, the power of the name of Jesus against evil, sin and death. I clearly saw, I understood, that my own redemption directly results from the "blood of Christ". This knowledge increased my efforts to bring this message to all people.
A friendship to a drugaddict, whom I helped in his loneliness and isolation, opened my eyes and I discovered the "poor and crucified Christ" in him. Thus, I decided to offer my life to the Lord, to live in celibacy, to live to be near to the "poorest".
In 1989, I went to Medjugorje. I wanted to realize this vital decision in contemplation and prayers to the Virgin Mary. Here, in Medjugorje, an accident happened. On an excursion, a friend of mine threatened to be drowned in the river nearby. I was able to help him to save his life. But, by this dramatic incident, I understood, that God wanted me to help, not only my friend, not only in a special case - He wanted me to help all the people in need of help, because God wants to save everybody.
In the following years, I moved several times between Medjugorje and Italy.
In 1994, during prayers in Medjugorje again, I deeply felt Gods vocation: He needs people to bring His merciful love to all the others, to all the sinners by the holy sacraments - he needs me! Now, I was affected personally. My answer was the begin of my studies on theology.
In 2004, at the Sunday of Mercy, I was ordained to priest at Straden (Styria / Austria).
Fr. Hannes Saurugg
In 1972, I was born at Graz (Styria / Austria) as the first of three children. I grew up at Katzelsdorf, a small village belonging to the parish of Gnas (Styria / Austria).
One year after I had finished my apprenticeship as painter by examination, I changed work and began as worker on the assembly line of the lacquery of "Eurostar", a motor-car factory at Graz (Styria / Austria). Since early days, I was enthusiastic about sports: via football and moto cross I finally came to cycling, which I practiced efficiently and very intensely. My enthusiasm on cycling was much greater than that on God and His church. Thus, I eliminated Him and the church more and more from my daily life. At that time, cycling races on Sunday were much more important than the holy mass at church.
A pilgrimage to Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in December 1998 changed my life in its essentials. The occurence of Gods merciful love, which I realized in the sacraments of confession and the holy eucharist, was a decisive turning-point in my life. It was almost my conversion. From now on, I began to search for Him. On May 6th, 1999 I dedicated my life to the Mother of God, Mary.
Few months later, during my work at the assembly line, I read in a brochure the following question: " Are you ready to help the Mother of God to guide people to Christ?" It was that sentence, that simple question, which encouraged me to leave behind everybody and everything of worth till now: my girlfriend, my family, my work, my home and cycling.
In autumn 1999, I entered into the franciscan community "Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace", at that time located at Lower Austria. In 2000, I deeply felt the whish to become a priest. And so, the community has sent me to the "Philosophisch - Theologische Hochschule Heiligenkreuz", a college of philosophy and theology at Heiligenkreuz (Lower Austria) to study theology. One year later, the community moved to Bierbaum-Trössing (Styria / Austria; see: Our sites Fatima Chapel and Convent), only few miles from my former home. I changed the place of my studies and continued them at the university of Graz (Styria / Austria) for the next two years. It was hard, because I had to go by car daily from Trössing to Graz and back again. I changed again and continued my studies at Vienna.
In 2009, I have finished my studies, and on June 26th of the same year I have been consecrated to deacon at Maria Lanzendorf (Lower Austria). On June 25th, 2010, Card. Christoph Schönborn consecrated me to priest at St. Stephans Cathedral, Vienna. Since then, I am chaplain at Maria Lanzendorf.
Sr. Gertrude Reininger
I was born in 1947 at Kühnegg (Styria / Austria). At the age of nineteen, I married my husband Franz. Four girls were given to us, and my family has lived at Dietersdorf (Styria / Austria). My husband already has died in 2002.
After a seminary of faith, at the age of fourty, God raised me to a new life in truth and faith. Gladly, I was sure, that it was Jesus who called me. The spirit of God is present wherever and whenever He wants. I understood, that I really need prayers, the daily holy mass and reading the holy books to follow His vocation. By Gods mercy and love, I, an unimportant woman and a small farmer´s wife, was elected to live in a convent, to live as nun.
I know, that is not easy to understand by intellect, but it is true!
At the beginning of 2003 I began postulancy at the franciscan community. There, Gods love and safety are supporting me; I am protected by the Queen of Peace. I possess nothing, but I have everything!
Fr. Martin Schreiner
My name is Martin Schreiner, and I was born in 1977 at Graz (Styria / Austria). I have grown up at the farm of my parents at Hitzendorf near Graz. I became a journeyman mason and led a life without depth, which did not satisfy me. At christmas three years ago, I got a book with prayers of St. Francis, and one sequence affected me deeply: "Lord, make me to an instrument of Your peace". I began to pray and to read more than I had done before. And I visited the church more frequently and began to join the holy mass again. By a friend, I got in touch with the tradition of the "Wandermuttergottes" (translated: "walking madonna"), a tradition, where a statue, a painting of the Virgin is brought from house to house to host it for a time. And, at that time, I felt, that I wanted to live in a convent, that I wanted to become a monk. I visited a grand cousin, who lives in the monastery of the Brothers of St. John, and I spent few days there. But my way led me to the Chapel of Fatima (Styria / Austria; see: Our sites, Fatima Chapel and Convent), where I entered into the franciscan community living there.
Fr. Clemens Brecher
After compulsary education, I went to the HTL Graz (Styria / Austria), a technical college, to study mechanical engineering. I have finished my studies in 1999 by certificate. Then, my public service as civilian and six years in my profession as mechanical engineer with special reference to special mechanical engineering and self-acting techniques followed.
My spirituality was well prepared by my parents and grandparents, but it really started at a seminary of faith in 2001. I knew the consequences of handling over my life to Jesus, but, after a time of inner reflection, I did it! Since then, I assisted at seminaris of faith, and my own religious faith increased. In 2002, a league of prayers was established in my home town, which has influenced my life strongly by spiritual impulses as well as by personal friendships. On pilgrimages to Schio (Italy) I began to tell my leads daily. By Opus Dei I found my spiritual guidance and the way to the daily holy mass. I visited many communities and orders working especially with young people and they allowed me to work with them to make my own experiences. I became stronger and stronger in my own spiritualty. On two week lasting devotions in the desert I became sure, that my way of life is celebacy, and in 2006, at Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), I clearly felt, that I had to go the franciscan way. Soon afterwards, I entered into the franciscan community where I live now.
Living together with my sisters and brothers in the community points out daily my insufficiences as well as my benefits. But, at the same time and in much greater extent, I obtain the mercy of God, and the mercy of my sisters and brothers of the community.
Sr. Renate Fischer
I was born in 1985 as the fourth of five children at Bad Radkersburg (Styria / Austria). When I was six years old, I began to minister as an acolyte at our church, and I went to the holy mass on each Sunday. But, at that time, I never thought to become a nun.
After the marriage of my parents was divorced and after several removals combined with changes of schools, bad influences came over me. Thus, my mother sent me, on advice of our parson, to an one week lasting youth camp. At the end of that week I clearly knew by my heart: Jesus loves me, He watches me, He knows me, He accepts me as I am!
Now I began to form my life in a new way. I gave fixed spaces in my heart to Jesus and Mary, and I took part on the life of church actively at the holy mass, by works in my parish and as an active member of St. Marys Legion.
I became a nurse and worked at the LKH Graz, a public hospital at Graz (Styria / Austria) for one and a half year. My work as nurse made me very happy, but in my heart I felt a permanent longing for "more" in my life. My longing for a life in a spiritual community grew in my heart more and more. Thus, I finished my work at the hospital, and now, in the franciscan community, I am able to serve not only sick people, I can serve all people who come to us.
Sr. Kerstin Oswald
I was born in 1988, and I come from the parish of St. Veit am Vogau (Styria / Austria). During childhood, faith and religion were nothing for me. At the age of 14, my life took a critical turn, and exactly at that time, during my studies for confirmation, I came in touch with God and his tremendous love.
At confirmation, I opened my heart to God, and the Holy Spirit fulfiled me with his fire, the fire of love. So, I began to visit the service on Sunday, went to youth meetings and took part on the youth prayers circle of St. Veit am Vogau.
Gradually, my activities within the church increased, and I had a lot of fun and gladness, especially in working with young people from my parish. After my school-leaving examination at the BORG Bad Radkersburg (Styria / Austria), in summer 2008 I travelled to the World Youth Day at Sydney (Australia) - in my heart the petition to God to show me the right way for my future life.
When I came back home, I did not know more than before - but during the three weeks in Australia I had found the love of God - in meeting other people, in conversations and especially in the beauty of the nature of Australia. I was allowed to get in touch with the community "Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace" and to get some informations on the "exciting monastic life", because the members of the community were permanently present to give answers to a lot of questions the young people have asked them.
At least, I decided to study theology at the university of Graz (Styria). But, in my heart, I felt that God had his plans with me. And, during a Sunday mass, when I heard the words „You are my daughter, who I love; with you I am well pleased" (see Mk 1,11), I clearly knew, that God wants me to follow him, and that I want to live as a witness of his love.
Fr. Niklas Müller
In 1991, I was born in Wagna (Styria / Austria). I grew up in Straß (Southern Styria), where I attended the primary school. The secondary school followed at the "Bischöfliches Gymnasium" at Graz as boarding scholar of the „Kleinen Seminar".
Though I began to officiate as an acolyte after my first communion, I did not know much about God and the church. To visit the services was more or less routine. During the time of preparation for confirmation, I began to study religious themes more intensively. Together with priests, who accompanied me during that period, and friends I tried to live in accordance to the gospel, to be open to Gods intention.
At the Worlds Youth Day in Sydney (2008), I felt for the first time the whish to give God my life and to live as monk. During the following time, I felt the nearness of God, which helped me through all troubles and difficulties. I learned to be leaded by St. Mary, to be leaded through my life. After military service, I decided to become a member of the community.