The Count and Countess Brandys
In 1832 the Count and Countess Brandys moved from Graz to Maribor. Both in Graz and in Maribor they had large castles surrounded by vast estates. When I (Sr. Hedvika) was student-teaching at Sadjarsko Vinograndiska School, the history professor, Dr. Priol, told us that the school was on the former property of the Count and Countess Brandys of Maribor.
The Brandyses were greatly inclined toward charitable works. There was a heated room in the castle where the poor could come in winter and receive food. They had special concern for the sick. It was not surprising then that one of their daughters would become a Sister of Charity taking the name Sr. Leopoldina.9
One of the Brandys’ sons was a Jesuit.10
These are only brief notes on some of the events regarding the Brandyses, especially regarding Countess Sofia Brandys, the president of the Association of Catholic Women of Maribor. She was an intermediary in bringing sisters from Algersdorf to Maribor as well as a wise counsellor to the sisters committed to the Association’s work. She also was a wise counselor to Sr. Margareta Puhar in her efforts to establish an institute of School Sisters in Maribor independent from those at Algersdorf.
9. Author’s note: In 1878 Sr. Leopoldina founded a community of religious associated with the Sisters of Charity. These sisters ministered to the sick in their homes, and remained with them in case of necessity, something the other religious, according to their Rule, were not able to do.
Sr. Leopoldina Brandys, being of delicate health, often withdrew to Begunje in the fresh air of Gorenjeska. As the foundress of the Sisters of Mary, the Church conferred upon her the title of “Mother General.” On her jubilee she received permission to receive communion every day.
In 1926 this group separated itself from the Sisters of Charity, and they now minister as an independent Institute called “The Slovenian Sisters of Mary.” They currently minister also at the Slovenian College in Rome. They are seeking recognition as a pontifical institute and follow in the spirit of St. Vincent De Paul.
The Jesuit, Fr. Tomc, had helped these sisters, advising them on how to proceed to obtain their independence. Through his express desire, his two relatives, Sr. Tajda and Sr. Dragotina, were admitted to the School Sisters of Maribor. The Sisters of Charity at the hospital of Krtska told me (Sr. Hedvika) this when I was still at home with my parents.
10. He lived during the same period as the Jesuit, Fr. Valjavc, a relative of Mrs. Sporn of Lokariev/Vodice. She agreed that the Jesuits should come to Repnje and build a convent and a church. This was the first church in Slovenia dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
When the Jesuits left Repnje, Mrs. Šporn, on their advice, had a school built for the young girls of Repnje and the neighboring villages. Since she wished to have religious teachers in the school, on the advice of the Jesuits, she turned to the School Sisters of Maribor. In 1883 she made a contract with the Superior General of that time, Sr. Nepomucena Ziggal, who assumed the care of the school, the convent, the church, the farm and the entire estate.