A quarter of a century since the martyrdom of sister Danka Jurčević

On Sunday, September 26th, in Kakanj, the Eucharistic celebration marked the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom of sister M. Danka Jurčević, a member of the Society of the Sisters of the Daughters of God’s Love.

The Holy Mass was celebrated by the parish priest in Vitez, OFM Velimir Bavrka, in the concelebration with the parish priest in Kakanj, rev. Žarko Vujica; a retired priest and long-time parish priest of Kakanj, Msgr. Petar Jukić and the director of Caritas of the Vrhbosna Archdiocese, rev. Mirko Šimić.

At the beginning, those present were greeted by rev. Vujica expressing joy that the Provincial Superior, sister Gordana Igrec, and the General Superior of the Society of the Daughters of God’s Love, sister M. Maria Dulce Adams, were present along with Sister Danka’s relatives. He thanked Msgr. Jukić, who “as a collaborator of the truth, put everything that happened on September 30th 1996, on paper so that it remains written down.”

In his homily, OFM Velimir emphasized that the Gospel is “the life of the living, both in life and in the death of the living”. “It was the same with our sister, the martyr of the faith, Danka. She always watched over the altar of Christ, she taught the little ones how to come in the way of Christ. In prayer, at the piano, above the altar, silent as a candle. But she is still alive, she has gone to Christ who engaged her for himself a long time ago”, the preacher said, asking: “Do we have the courage to live the gospel according to Jesus' requirements?”

At the end of the Holy Mass, sister M. Maria Dulce Adams asked those present “to remember, in this church where sister Danka prayed and glorified God, that she was carried by the certainty of God’s merciful love.” “She was a witness to charity and an instrument of evangelization. May her example encourage us to fulfill the call to love the specific vocation of each of us, to be witnesses of mercy and fidelity to the sacrament of baptism”, said the head general.

Msgr. Jukić then, in the context of the end of the Year of the Word of God, on September 30th, recalled that it was not easy, in the war and post-war period, to stay in this area because it took a lot of courage and love.

The Eucharistic celebration was animated by the choir of the parish of Vitez under the direction of sister Ankica Garić. After the Holy Mass, those present went to the place of death, and then to the city cemetery in Kakanj, where the remains of sister Danka rest.

Let us remind, the murder of this favourite nun in Kakanj took place on September 30th 1996 in front of the building of the parish Caritas. Apparently, it was planned in advance and executed with eight stab wounds and cuts with a knife, and the goal was obviously to intimidate the remaining Croatian Catholic people in the Kakanj area.