Catholic Spiritual Centre
Father Jozo Zovko OFM, a Franciscan of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, better
known worldwide as the pastor and witness of the Međugorje events, was entrusted with
the restoration of the monastery on Badija. Namely, in 2005 the Zadar Province with its
head Father Bernardin Škunca OFM invited Father Jozo Zovko OFM together with the
Provincial at the time Father Slavko Soldo OFM to come to Badija and take over the
restoration of the monastery. What remained of the former centre of cultural and spiritual
life in that part of Croatia was a ruin in a destitute state which no one at the time believed
could be restored. Deeply moved by what was left of the monastery – the destroyed walls,
the sea which surged beneath the monastery, the church which was turned into a
warehouse and a store during the former regime – Father Jozo felt an impetus in his heart
to renew the monastery and restore the old splendour of Badija, contrary to all human
reason. He knew very well that it wouldn’t be easy. And it wasn’t.
Requesting building permits, various approvals from the Ministry of Culture, meeting
restoration requirements, finding qualified skilled construction workers who would need to
restore a monument which holds the highest category of protection required patience and
prayer. Father Jozo did not hesitate even when works were halted or when people were
outraged on both sides. The desire for the Franciscan spirit to inhabit Badija and for the
name of Our Lady of Badija who once protected Korčula from Turkish galleys to be
celebrated was much stronger than all the adversities that came. The love towards the friars
from whom the monastery was unjustly taken and the memory of Father Bernardin Sokol
OFM, the last Friar killed, were embodied in the opening of an art gallery bearing his name.
This wish, imbued with prayer and love, came true because Badija truly became a spiritual
and cultural centre where pilgrims can come to seminars and spiritual programs with their
priests and get some peace, beauty, and closeness to God.
Today, Father Jozo walks around the island in the evening with his head bowed and a rosary,
blessing the island and testifying that with perseverance and prayer, miracles are still
Catholic spiritual centre. Along with spiritual retreats, there is a whole range of activities that are organised on the island.