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The Life or Fra. Vjeko Curic:

From Sarajevo to Kivumu

This map shows how far away Fra. Vjeko was from his home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina (shown in red), while he was living in Rwanda (shown in green)

Early life:

Vjeko Curic was born on April 26, 1957, in Bosnia. He was the second of six children born to parents Peter and Ana. Vjeko was the only of the six children who didn't have to be coaxed into studying since he enjoyed it so much. Vjeko was responsible and hard working, which set a good example for his friends, classmates and siblings. To help around the house, Vjeko would drive a tractor after school to help cultivate the family's land. Described as being very mild mannered, Vjeko liked to joke around, but at the same time had a great sense of maturity. When not studying or working around the house, Vjeko enjoyed spending time in the church. Vjeko's mother grew concerned with the amount of free time her son was spending in the church. To mediate, a friar came to visit her, assuring her that he was doing nothing wrong and to continue to let him pray. Vjeko also experienced scrutiny at school, because many of his teachers with communist views disagreed with the church's teachings.


Given all of the negativity surrounding his decision to spend time with the friars Vjeko did not stop singing and praying, so it came as a surprise to no one when he decided to enter a minor seminary upon completing elementary school. Still committed to the church, his studies and his duties, Vjeko decided to go one step further and live in Africa. This came as a shock to friends and family who could not imagine Vjeko being so far away from them and from Bosnia. He convinced his family and friends to trust his decision to leave, even saying to his sister, "If I stay here, I will never be who I want to be..." After being ordained and preparing for his missionary in Paris, Vjeko went to Rwanda in 1983.

Vjeko was a member of the Franciscan order, an order named for St. Francis of Assisi. The order prides itself in following the "Rule of St. Francis," which preaches that one should follow the teachings of the Gospel as a guide for how to meaningfully and happily lead one's life.


Vjeko lived in Rwanda for fifteen years. In that time, he only came home three times and only wrote ten letters. His mother was worried about him and during each of his visits home she asked him to stay. Vjeko said that Rwanda and Bosnia had many similarities, even though they were so far away from each other. They both were really hilly and at times, Rwanda's climate was like that of Bosnia. Vjeko's parents knew about Rwanda's civil unrest and feared their son's life. When the genocide started in 1994 after the death of Juvénal Habyarimana, Curic decided to stay.