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Role of Slavonian Franciscans in the national movement of the Danubian Croats during the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century
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Str. 194 - 216
In the 19th century the Croatian Franciscans of the Province St. John Capistran continued pursuing their rich educational and cultural agenda, which had been launched in the 18th century. The nineteenth century was a time of national revolutions, when Croats suffered from a serious lack of intellectuals capable of coping with challenges of the new era. Croatian Franciscans gained full awareness of the importance of the moment, so they took an active role in the shaping of national culture and national awareness, by undertaking a number of cultural and social activities. The importance of the Franciscans in the national movement showed best on the fringes of Croatian ethnic regions, such as the Hungarian Danube area. In the Hungarian Danube area the most prominent role in the national movement was played by the Slavonian Franciscans and those in Bačka, especially of the Province of St. John Capistran. Their activities did not only help the Bunjevci and the Šokci of the Bačka region to preserve their local identity, but they also linked them with all the major cultural, educational, but also political events in their homeland - Croatia. Over several generations the Slavonian Franciscans and the Bunjevci from Bačka were loyal friends and fighters for the national cause. While in the course of the 18th century Franciscan activities were exclusively oriented at promoting culture, in the 19th century political activities became an inevitable item of their agenda. In the first generation, which witnessed the Illyrian movement and the revolution of 1848/49, we note, among others, the Slavonian Kajo Agjić and the Bunjevac Marcelin Dorić. In the 1870s they were succeeded by a new generation headed by the Slavonians Robert Kauk and Euzebije Fermendžin, and the Bunjevac Franciscans Silverije Lipošinović, Stipan Vujević and Fabijan Peštalić. Towards the end of the 19th century the third generation of Franciscans came on stage, who were headed by Ivo Rafael Rodić, Ante Evetović, Mate Ivanišević and Mladen Barbarić. Much credit goes to these generations of Slavonian and Bunjevac Franciscans for helping preserve the Croatian language and the identity of Croats in Bačka. Furthermore, they are to be credited for forging firm ties between these Croats and their homeland Croatia, through their ardent commitment to promoting various cultural and social activities. Their work helped the Croats in Bačka to preserve their identity in the hardest times of national integrations.
Franciscans; Province of St. John Capistran; Danubian Croats; Slavonia; Bačka region; Croatian national movement; 19th-20th centuries
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