- Ivan Franjo Gnidovec
Born to a small, poor, pious farm family, Janez began working the cows and hogs as a small boy. His mother died when the boy was seven. An excellent student, Janez helped support his family by tutoring other boys. When his father died in February 1892, Janez prayed for guidance – and felt a call to the priesthood. Ordained as a Vincentian priest on 23 June 1896. Taught catechism, and in 1905 became a teacher and rector of a diocesan college. During World War I the college served as a hospital, and Janez ministered to all the soldiers brought there for recovery, learning Hungarian to help the men who spoke it.
During all this time as a priest, Father Janez felt that he was in the wrong place. On 7 December 1919, he resigned from the college and began a Lazarist novitiate. His skills and spirituality were immediately recognized, and he was appointed assistant to the seminary director.
Reluctant bishop of Skopje, Macedonia on 30 November 1924. Catholics in his diocese were a small minority, and the region was in great turmoil following the Balkan War and World War I. Bishop Janez came in as a highly spiritual outsider whose skill with languages allowed him to communicate with everyone in his troubled diocese. There was a shortage of priests, and the new bishop brought in priests from other areas, and founded a seminary for locals. Local Muslim and Orthodox officials objected to activist Catholics, and opposed the construction of Catholic churchs. Janez helped the poor and started charity work, which also brought official objection. He supported organizations such as fraternities of the Blessed sacrament, fraternities of the Sacred Heart, Catholic Action, and the Legion of Mary to support a revitalized spirituality in his diocese; Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was a member of the Legion in his diocese. Founded the magazine Blagovijest (The Good News) on 25 March 1928 to reach the remote areas of his diocese. He worked for Ecumenism and for less oppression of Catholics, many of whom publicly claimed to be Muslims and lived as covert Christians. He won over many people by ministering to anyone in need, regardless of background or religion.
- “Venerable Janez Francišek Gnidovec“. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 March 2010. Web. 27 May 2016. <>