Sister Bernadeta Banja

Sister Bernadeta Banja was the youngest among the five Martyrs of Drina. She was only 29 years old when she met her martyr`s death.

She was born in the village of Veliki Grdjevac near the town of Bjelovar in Croatia on June 17th, 1912. Her parents of (Hungarian descent) Terezija nee Kovač and Josip Banja, named her Terezija at birth.

She entered the convent of the Daughters of Divine Charity on June 29th, 1929. The same year in December she put on her nun´s habit and received her religious name Sr. Bernadeta. Her religious formation as young nun was received in Sarajevo, St Joseph´s convent (the formation house and the mother house at that time).

She made her first profession (religious vows) on the feast of the Assumption, August 15th, 1932 and her final vows 1937.

She was sent to Pale convent (near Sarajevo) after her first profession 1932 where she worked as a cook in the convent kitchen cooking for her community and many guests who came to Pale for some peace and quiet.

In the winter, December 11th, 1941 Serbian fighters called 'Cetnics' broke into the convent looted the house, and burned it down. They took Sr Bernardeta and the other sisters as hostages. In freezing temperatures under snowy conditions without proper winter clothing their journey took four days and four nights from Pale to Goražde over Romania Mountain. She was tortured and murdered in Goražde, Bosnia, were thrown into the river Drina where they were carried down stream.

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