A historic house, the Fransiskus house
The history of the Fransiskus house
In 1933 the Sisters of St. Francis order arrived in Stykkishólmur from Belgium. Their mission in this small town was to build a monastery, a Catholic chapel and a hospital for the whole region. In 1935 the buildings were completed and the sisters started their work at the hospital where they worked their whole life. They played a big part in the lives of the people of Stykkishólmur as well. In one of the houses, they ran a kindergarten or pre-school for local children and also held sewing classes for girls. The sisters did more than that because they also ran a printing office where they printed all the religious books for the Catholic Church in Iceland. In their spare time they travelled around the country to sell religious books, so in a few years, everybody in Iceland knew about the sisters in Stykkishólmur. This was very unique at that time. In Iceland, there is a formal state church and most of the inhabitants are Lutheran. In the eighties, the sisters gave the hospital to the state of Iceland but still, they continued to work there.
In the year 2008, the St. Francis sisters left the country. A year later the monastery got new sisters, and this time from an order called St. Maryʼs. At that time the buildings of the monastery where in a pretty bad shape so another house and a small wooden house was bought for the new sisters. The sisters, however, pray every day at the chapel which is located inside the building, and this makes the centre very unique. The Diocese prepared a project for a Spiritual and Pastoral Centre for the Diocese of Reykjavík. The renovation of the monastery and kindergarten began in 2012 and it was finished in March 2016. At the end of this project we would like to thank our many benefactors, who have made this possible, especially Bonifatiuswerk of the German Catholics, Diaspora-Kommissariat of the German Bishops, Archdiocese of Paderborn, Archdiocese of Cologne, Diocese of Münster, Diocese of Rottenburg/Stuttgart, Tritan Foundation, Victorinox, Diocesan Tribunal of Vechta, Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, as well as other sponsors, including Icelanders who have made their contribution too.
So when you come and visit you can join the sisters in the chapel or spend some time there. The chapel is always open up to everyone who wants to visit.
The Bonifatiuswerk of the German Catholics has collected donations in Germany for the renovation of the Church centre in Stykkishólmur, and it has coordinated the financial help of the German Church for this construction project. From 2010 to 2015 the Bonifatiuswerk could collect in this way 539,900 Euros for the retreat and the educational centre “Fransiskus Hotel”. That is around 82 million Icelandic krónas.
The Bonifatiuswerk has existed since 1849 and considers itself an aid organization for the faith. It is commissioned by the German Bishopsʼ Conference with the promotion of the pastoral care in the Diaspora. This charity organization based in Paderborn supports about 900 projects every year for Catholics who live scattered as a minority among people of other faiths and non-believers – mainly in Eastern and Northern Germany, Northern Europe, Estonia and Latvia.
The organization supports the construction and renovation of churches and community centres, youth and educational centres, Catholic schools and kindergartens. With its transport assistance, particularly with the bright-yellow “BONI buses”, the organization improves the mobility of Catholic Christians in large and scattered parishes. The Bonifatiuswerk supports with its child and youth welfare projects the passing on of the faith (e.g. Religious Children Weeks (RKW) and youth camps). It also contributes to social and charitable initiatives such as outpatient childrenʼs hospice services and projects for street children.
By funding staff the Bonifatiuswerk is involved with a new missionary pastoral program in the Diaspora. In the spirit of its original assignment, to be a “Mission for Germany”, the Bonifatiuswerk through its missionary initiatives, such as the “Santa Claus Free Zone”, brings First Communion and Confirmation materials for the practical evangelization nationwide throughout Germany. Intensive campaigning and educational work should help to convey and strengthen the faith and knowledge of the faith. In the Bonifatius-Internship program young Catholics from Germany learn to know the Catholic Church in Scandinavia better.
All grants are provided as an assistance to self-help and are connected to each project. The Bonifatiuswerk is almost entirely funded by donations, collections and endowments. Therefore, in its work it is always dependent upon the assistance of donors and benefactors. Only in this way the organization can be true to its motto: “No one should believe alone.”