There were two particularly important figures within the local church at this time: Monsignor Janez Gnidovec, Bishop of Skopje 1924-39, a charismatic figure who came to know Agnes' family well; and a Jesuit priest, Father Franjo Jambrekovic, who became Pastor of the Sacred Heart in 1925.Father Jambrekovic
established a parish library for young people, and set up a youth group called the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
was especially welcomed by the young people of Skopje
, who had found his
predecessor harsh to the point of cruelty.
galvanised the small community in Skopje
clearly had a gift for communicating with young people and made his
stories both exotic and romantic and full of adventure.He
organised prayers as well as collections of money to help support the work of missionaries; he
distributed some of the plentiful Catholic magazines and newspapers full of exciting accounts of their progress.One magazine
in particular, Catholic Missions, published by the Association for the Propagation
of the Faith, with its vivid eye-witness reports of Croatian and Slovene missionaries working in India, caught Agnes' imagination.The magazines, well endowed with photographs, were full of moving calls to `assist in the education of future Apostles ... and share in their reward'.There was also a keen element of competition with the hard-working Protestant missionaries involved.
it was who first taught the girls of the Sodality about the Jesuits, the Militia of Christ founded by St Ignatius Loyola in 1534 to combat Christian reformers -- it was Jesuit priests who went on missionary duties from Yugoslavia to Bengal in 1924.He
students to think of the words of St Ignatius in his
Spiritual Exercises: `What have I done for Christ, what am I doing for Christ and what will I do for Christ?' As she
pondered this, Agnes
started to feel the stirring of a call, but she
admitted to friends it was hard to know how to respond.How could a teenage girl with such limited experience of the world be expected to disentangle the romantic overlay from a genuine and heartfelt desire to help others?
stayed in Skopje
, what was the future for her?Although she
was not short of friends, contemporaries describe her
as shy with boys.She
loved teaching but as a member of a double minority was she
not bound to suffer discrimination in this career, with virtually no schools for the Albanian minority in Yugoslavia?