Studied in Albania, in Graz, Feldkirch and Innsbruck in Austria, and in Rome, Italy. Ordained a priest in Rome on 13 May 1924 for the archdiocese of Tiranë-Durrës, Albania. Parish priest in Skopje and Novoselo (in modern Macedonia and Kosovo) from 1921 to 1929. To escape persecutions in the region, he fled to Albania and then Romania. Parish priest in Shna Prendja, Gurës, and Tirana. Wrote to the League of Nations on 5 May 1930 to try to draw attention to the persecution of Albanian Catholics in Kosovo. Arrested by Communist government authorities on 28 October 1946 and imprisoned in Tirana and then Burrel for the crime of Christianity, he was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to 20 years, and he served for 17, finally being released on 2 May 1963. He continued to be subject to psychological warfare by the Communists in the hope of breaking his faith so he could be used to influence others; at one point he was forced to dig his own grave, the authorities simulated an execution – and then released him in hopes the trauma would cause him to lose his faith. It didn’t work. He continued ministering to persecuted Catholics in Tirana, Juba and Gurës. In 1967 he fended off a gang intent on destroying his church; this led to him being arrested and sentenced to 16 years in a forced labour camp. In 1970 he secretly baptized a newborn boy; when the authorities learned of this crime, he was re-arrested and executed. Martyr.
- 20 October 1971 in Fushe, Krujë, Albania
- information about his death only leaked out past the secret police to Church authorities in 1973
- 5 November 2016 by Pope Francis
- beatification celebrated at the Square of the Cathedral of Shën Shtjefnit, Shkodër, Albania, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato
- “Blessed Shtjefën Kurti“. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 October 2016. Web. 23 April 2017. <>