About Franciscan Institute for the Culture of Peace



Minister General of the Franciscan order, Father Hermann Schalück, together with the Head of the Commission for Justice and Peace, Father John Quigley, visited brothers in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.  Upon the insight in war troubles, he suggested to the brothers provincials to send two friars who would join Franciscan Commission for Justice and Peace in Rome, communicate the situation to Franciscan brothers and lobby for the needs of people in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The provincials have designated Fr. Bože Vuleta and Fr. Franjo Radman, whose commitment to this mission lasted all the year 1993. Father John Quigley, Head of Commission joined them in their mission activities. They visited numerous ecclesiastical, political, humanitarian and media institutions in America and Europe, Episcopal Conferences, United Nations in NY and Geneve, NATO in Bruxelles, British and German Parliament, International Caritas, and many Caritas institutions on national level. In cooperation with  Franciscan Missions in Bulington, Wisconsin, USA, Fr. Bože was preaching for three months in American parishes, raising aid for refugees from Bosnia, hosted in Croatia.

Upon his return from subject mission, Fr. Bože Vuleta was appointed to the position of head of Commission for Justice and Peace at the level of the Conference of South Slavic Provincial Ministers. Besides maintaining contacts with the same, central commission in Rome, the Commission intensified the activity in our territories.  The most distinctive projects from that time are symposium „Praštanje [Forgiveness]“, held in April 1995, and the course book „Na putu mira [On Path of Peace]“ drawn for the quiz competition, organised at national youth meeting in Solin, in June 1996.

Upon suggestions by Fr. Mirko Mataušić, president of the Conference of Franciscan Provincial Ministers  and the Council of Franciscan Communities in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the necessity and models of intensifying Franciscan dedication to justice and peace in our areas have become the matter of consideration.  Then president of Mission center (Missionszentrale) of German Franciscans, Father Andreas Müller, proposed the Franciscans to establish the institute for peace research, hoping he might obtain financial support for such a project which should require at least ten employees. Fr. Andreas hadn\'t managed to find funding sources. Nevertheless, the idea has survived.


Council of Franciscan Communities in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina enacted decision on the establishment of Franciscan Institute for the Culture of Peace on April 16, 1996.  Fr. Bože Vuleta was appointed the director of the Institute, and  sister  Rebeka Anić full time employee. The former Commission for Justice and Peace, with its headquarters in Sinj ceased to operate, and its activities were taken over by the Institute, which in October of that same year moved its office to Franciscan Monastery of St. Antonio in Split, where it has remained with its  premises until now. (The work in the competence of Commission for Justice and Peace on the level of the Conference of South Slavic Provincial Ministers and Council of Franciscan Communities was taken over by the  Institute).

Initial efforts of the Institute were focused on solidarity with refugees and war victims, and forgiveness as direct help to the suffering ones. The employees and associates of the Institute were cooperating with numerous NGO-s, local ones in the territories of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and with international ones as well, which were rather numerous at that time. This cooperation has proved even more the importance of the forgiveness for the process of reconciliation, which had been pursued by the Institute employees already within the activities of Commission for Justice and Peace. Some of more significant projects developed in this and in other fields of the Institute activity:

Ø  Forgiveness and reconciliation

-  Results of research among general population and separately among Franciscan friars and Franciscan nuns in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, focusing on the issue of forgiveness, carried in 1995, published in: Crkva u svijetu, XXXIV, No. 2, Split, 1999

„Putovi i stranputice pomirenja [Paths and Sidetracks to Reconciliation]“,1997, declaration on current (difficulties)opportunities of the process of post-war reconciliation in cooperation with Centre for peace and human rights from Osijek

 „Na putu mira [On Path of Peace]– course book prepared by Institute,  and on March 15,1999 approved by Ministry of Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia for use in schools

„Mir u Hrvatskoj, rezultati istraživanja [Peace in Croatia- results of research], 2001, research on forgiveness and reconciliation, accomplished in cooperation with Croatian Caritas: [  ]

„Oprost i pomirenje – izazov Crkvi i društvu[Forgiveness and Reconciliation-a Challenge for the Church and Society], 2001, international conference

„Kršćanstvo i pamćenje – kršćansko pamćenje i oslobađanje od zlopamćenja [Christianity and Memory - Christian Memory and dealing with Bad Memories]“, 2003, international conference

„Dijalogom do mira [From Dialogue to Peace]“, 2005, Proceedings dedicated to Željko Mardešić, prominent Institute associate.

„Bosna i Hercegovina - europska zemlja bez Ustava, znanstveni, etički i politički izazov“ [Bosnia and Herzegovina - European country without Constitution, scientific, ethical and political challenge],2013, international conference endeavouring to develop new social agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

„Nepomireno društvo – nepomirena pamćenja [Unreconciled Society - Unreconciled Memories ], 2016, international conference

„Vrata svetoga – interdisciplinarno čitanje opusa Željka Mardešića [Door to the Sacred - Interdisciplinary reading of Željko Mardešić\'s works]“, 2016, one-day scientific symposium to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of Željko Mardešić, organised in cooperation with Faculty of Catholic Theology and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split

Ø  Social advocacy

„Kultura solidarnosti [Culture of Solidarity]“, 1996, sociological research

„Kultura solidarnosti [Culture of Solidarity]“, 1997, scientific conference

-   Campaign against Sunday work in retailer trade, 2003, launched by the Institute with Caritas Croatia and Croatian Bishops\' Conference/HBK through its Centre for the Promotion of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The collected  300.000 signatures were delivered to Croatian government. The bill on the ban of Sunday work was passed, which was contested by Constitutional court, and afterwards followed by the other act, in which the Sunday work was significantly restricted.

„Nedjelja radi čovjeka [Sunday to a Man]“,2004, document elaborated by organisers of the campaign for work-free Sunday in retailer trade, upon the incentive by HBK.

„Slobodna nedjelja: kultura u nestajanju [Work-free Sunday: fading culture]“, 2014, survey in cooperation with Catholic University of Croatia in Zagreb.

Ø  Integrity of Creation

„Odgovornost za život [Responsibility for Life]“, 2000, interdisciplinary international conference on human responsibility for nature and environment.

„Žeđ na izvoru – moja odgovornost za vodu [Thirst at spring - my responsibility for water resources]“, 2003/2004, survey which was the starting point for the Institute\'s determination to lobby for insertion of provisions which shall prevent possible privatisation of water resources in the strategic documents and water related legislation. The pressure exerted by the Institute has obtained valuable results. The Survey was published as the manual, under the same title, 2005.

„Družba Adria“, 2006/2010, campaign against JANAF/Adriatic Oil Pipeline project according to which this public company would transport crude oil by pipeline to Omišalj, on the island of Krk, and further by Adriatic Sea in oil tankers to third countries. Besides Institute and FSR/Franciscan Secular Order, HBK Commission Iustitia et Pax and many other NGOs joined the campaign.

„Taj divni Božji svijet – vjernik i ekologija“[This glorious Divine world - the faithful and ecology]“, 1997, Institute has prepared the third, amended edition of this course book, used in catechism lectures at schools and parishes.

„Zrak naš svagdanji - klimatske promjene i globalno zatopljenje [Our daily air - climatic changes and global warming]“ 2007, survey - course book.

„Okoliš naš svagdašnji  [Our daily environment]“,2015, side event organised by the Institute in cooperation with Dubrovnik Diocese and held in Dubrovnik along with the presentation of the Encyclical Letter Laudato si\' of the Holy Father Francis.

Ø  Woman in Church and society

„Više od zadanoga – Žene u Crkvi u Hrvatskoj u 20. stoljeću [More Than A Given - Women in the Church in Croatia in the 20th Century]“, 2003, doctoral thesis of sister Rebeka Anić; she encouraged the Institute to involve these issues in its activities.

„Muško i žensko stvori ih - žene i muškarci u življenju i u službi Božjega poslanja   [He created them male and female - women and men in life and in God\'s service]“, 2005, research among general population and separately among priests and nuns, results published in 2008.

-   „Nasilje nad ženama – teološko-pastoralni izazovi [Violence Against Women - Theological-Pastoral Challenges]“, 2006, Proceedings.


Željko Mardešić (1933 - 2006), sociologist and phenomenologist of religion. He cooperated with the Institute during the Homeland War, and particularly in post-war period , all until the end of his life, dedicating strong efforts  to the issues of peace, promotion of dialogue and spirit of the Second Vatican Council and Gospel achievements. He participated in planning and designing symposiums, panels, round tables, meetings and gatherings. He considered Institute as important and rare place of peacemaking. Institute has raised the procedure of granting him the honorary doctorate and published the proceedings dedicated to him „Dijalogom do mira [From Dialogue to Peace]“(2005). On the tenth anniversary of his death, the Institute, in cooperation with Faculty of Catholic Theology and Faculty of Humanities and Social sciences in Split, organised one-day scientific symposium dealing with his opus: „Vrata svetoga – interdisciplinarno čitanje opusa Željka Mardešića“ [Door to the Sacred - interdisciplinary reading of Željko Mardešić\'s works]“, 2016.

Fr. Špiro Marasović (1944 - 2013), theologian, philosopher, writer, professor of social doctrine of the Church. Franciscan himself, he recognised in the Institute true opportunity for peace advocacy and promotion of social doctrine of the Church. Moreover, Institute for him was the place of dialogue, encounters and possibility to promote important, however practically marginal issues of the Franciscanism: forgiveness, reconciliation, integrity of creation. He was lead author of the first comprehensive sociological research „Kultura solidarnosti“ [Culture of Solidarity]“, 1995. He interceded at Faculty of Catholic Theology and University of Split for the award of honorary PhD title to Željko Mardešić. He participated in preparation and devising of symposiums, round tables, presentation of publications and in liturgical celebrations related to the work of the Institute.