A colourful palette of youthful creativity, brisk wonder, friendly coexistence and solidarity, a joy for life and responsibility – this is how I see St. Stanislav's Institution.
Anton Česen, M.A., Director
St. Stanislav's Institution is a cultural and educational establishment which consists of 6 schools: Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, Jeglič Student Home, Alojzij Šuštar Primary School, Good Shepherd Kindergarten, Music School of St. Stanislav’s Institution, and J. F. Gnidovec Residence Hall. The Slovene Home hosts exhibitions.
It was established in 1901 by the Diocese of Ljubljana, Slovenia. After the end of World War II the Institution was officially closed, until classes began again in 1993.
Presently it educates a total of about 1500 students.
The central building has 21.000 m2 of usable space. It is 142 m long and 92 m wide. The new building of the primary school and kindergarten was designed next to the central building and was opened in 2014. Its interior surface area measures 10.270 m2.
It lies about 6 kilometres from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It is situated in a natural environment, surrounded by six hectares of lawns.
The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and The Jeglič Student Home celebrated the 25th anniversary in 2018-2019 academic year; The Alojzij Šuštar Primary School marked the 10th anniversary of its establishment. The celebratory motto Youth Woven from Sparks of Sun summarized the beliefs, endeavours and aspirations of St. Stanislav's Institution.
Good Shepherd Kindergarten celebrates the 5th anniversary in 2019-2010 academic year. The celebratory motto Building Bridges Together reflects the objectives and intentions of the entire community at St. Stanislav's Institution.
The 25th anniversary of the establishment of The Matija Tomc Music School was celebrated in the academic year 2021/22. The celebratory motto Do we read each other? summarizes the school's endeavours to connect music community even closer by inviting others to dialogue and create some precious space for communication.
since its establishment at the beginning of the century, the Institution has been recognised through its creativity, innovation, international experience, and openness to new ideas. It has been valued in the Slovene educational and cultural environment as one of the best schools in the country.
Everything that we do is guided by faith, so as to instil in each person that priceless value and unique mission in life. The educational and developmental process should facilitate every young person to discover his/her mission, thus leading to a fulfilling life. We wish to encourage youth to be in service of others and for the benefit of mankind. In doing so, we are guided by the Institution’s slogan: Love is the best teacher.
This web site presents some segments of our Institution’s lively undertakings. We warmly invite you to come and see St. Stanislav’s Institution for yourself.
Anton Česen, M.A.
Mission and Values
The mission of St. Stanislav’s Institution is to foster the integral personal growth of each individual in the community, guided by faith, hope and love and in dialogue with the world, with the goal of living fully for the betterment of the world.
Personal actions are underscored by the following values: Christian faith, comprehensive personal growth, creative knowledge, community and active openness.
Code of ethics in St. Stanislav’s Institution is meant as a common fundation for educational work of every emplyee and as encouragement for continual personal growth and development.
The employee takes care of his/her own comprehensive personal growth.
Is honest and authentic.
Complies with the Christian orientation of the Institution.
His/her work is done professionally and with enthusiasm.
Is autonomous and chooses topics depending on their sensibility and applicability for life.
Is aware of personal limits and knows how to accept criticism.
Faces new challenges bravely.
Is aware of his/her influence and power to set examples.
Is emphatic and sensitive to the uniqueness of each individual.
Is fair and just.
Evaluates and appreciates versatility of students’ activities and praises progress.
Is respective and attentive towards all employees and ready to help.
Shoulders his/her share of responsibility for the community of St. Stanislav’s Institution, follows the endeavours of all schools in the institution and shapes positive atmosphere.
He/she cooperates with parents regularly and builds a trustworthy relationship.
Demonstrates active citizenship.
Educational principles of St. Stanislav’s Institution direct teachers’ way of educating and their attitude towards students, fellow teachers and parents. These are:
Fostering comprehensive personal growth
Sensible knowledge and life skills
Innovation and creativity
Freedom and responsibility
Fairness and justice
Trust and dialogue
Empathy and care for the weak
Openness to everybody
Building the community
Noble-mindedness and excellence
The school leadership of St. Stanislav’s Institution consists of the director, managing director, headmasters of individual schools and school chaplains. The present school leadership is as follows:
Anton Česen, M.A., Director and Headmaster of the Janez F. Gnidovec Residence Hall
Anton Česen obtained his masters in youth ministry. He has been employed in St. Stanislav’s Institution since 2004 as a teacher of Religion and Culture and school chaplain. From 2013-2018 he was a director and spiritual leader of Association Community of Catholic Youth in Slovenia and responsible for the youth ministry at Slovenian Bishops Conference. In February 2018 he was appointed director of St. Stanislav’s Institution and in August 2022 headmaster of the J.F. Gnidovec Residence Hall.
Rihard Režek is an econmist. He has been employed in St. Stanislav’s Institution since 2018, when he was appointed the headmaster of the Jeglič Student Home, a year later also of the Janez F. Gnidovec Residence Hall. In August 2022 he was appointed the head of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium.
Nuša Pohlin Schwartzbartl, B.A., Headmistress of the Alojzij Šuštar Primary School
Nuša Pohlin Schwartzbart is a primary school teacher and a specialist in educational management. She has been employed in St. Stanislav’s Institution since August 2019, when she was appointed headmistress of the Alojzij Šuštar Primary School.
Špela Avšič, B.A., Headmistress of the Good Shepherd Kindergarten
Špela Avšič is a librarian and counsellor of preschool children. She has been employed in St. Stanislav’s Institution since 2014, when she was appointed the headmistress of The Good Shepherd Kindergarten.
St. Stanislavs’ Institution is a place for comprehensive personal growth from kindergarten to the end of secondary education. In addition to obligatory subjects that are part of the state’s school curriculum, special emphasis is placed on community formation, solid relationships, outdoor learning, practical work, as well as ethical and spiritual topics that originate from Christianity.
Pastoral care at St. Stanislav’s Institution is meant to guide students’ personal growth, to introduce them to independent living and to create favourable conditions for a mature and independent decision for faith. The basic principles shaping our spiritual activities include respecting the various paths of spiritual searching, the circumstances from which the young come and their inner experiences.
Activities are led by priests who are chaplains in the various schools of the Institution, and are performed in collaboration with students and teachers. These activities consist of regular worship, spiritual guidance, and developing a sense of responsibility for charity and volunteer work. There is a daily morning and evening Mass in the Institution and the students begin their school day with a prayer or spiritual topic for contemplation. The students attend spiritual retreats. Religious holidays and the beginning and the end of the school year are solemnly celebrated with a Mass for the students, their parents and employees. We observe Advent and Lent with special activities.
Charity is a value closely related to the mission of the Institution, towards which students, their parents and employees in all sectors strive. Jesus Christ is the first foundation and example of charity. One of charity’s primary tasks is to encourage each individual to do something good for another.
The students perform charitable work by helping in different volunteer organisations and participating in mission and summer work camps. Individual divisions of the Institution also help each other, for example through organised study groups. Collaborative activities during Advent and Lent include helping people in need at home and abroad.
The key elements of the mission of St. Stanislav’s Institution – the integral development of the student, personal growth, and creating the conditions for this growth and world view – correspond to the basic patterns of classical education.
Discovering classical culture and learning Latin and classical Greek means not only learning both languages, but also discovering the ancient civilization which represents the foundation of the spiritual world to which we, as Europeans, belong. Emphasis is laid on the student’s comprehensive interest in different perspectives of life: social and personal reality, nature and spirit, the visible and invisible world.
The linguistic meaning of classical (classicus) refers to the best, enduringly valuable and normative. Learning both languages fosters skills in deduction, logical thinking and especially memorization, and thus encourages order, physical and spiritual discipline, connecting concepts, arguing, and learning how to learn.
Music and musical activities have had a special place in the educational process since the foundation of St. Stanislav’s Institution. We therefore place much emphasis on providing quality musical activities that involve as many students as possible. These activities range from singing in choirs, performing in string orchestra, singing in class, to performing in smaller, student-initiated vocal and instrumental ensembles. St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and St. Stanislav Youth Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium are one of the best choirs in Europe.
Drama clubs in Slovene and foreign languages encourage students in public performance, creativity and memorization. Team work improves responsibility, trust and support as well as openness to different interpretations and innovation.
The key element of the mission of St. Stanislav’s Institution – the integral development of the student – corresponds to the basic patterns of sports activities in school. A vast range of sports available take place in three main sports halls – two in the cental building (the big one (42m x 22m) and the small one (9,5m x 18m) mainly for the purposes of gymnasium; and one in the new building (44m x 24m) mostly for the purposes of primary school. Also on the school premises is an outdoor playing field with a running track and basketball court. The big sports hall in the central bilding includes a free-climbing wall size of 18m x 12m, designed anew in 2014.
After classes, students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of sports clubs. They take part in separate competitions in different events on regional, national and international levels.
Apart from the fundamental educational mission of all six schools, there are other activities and bodies which importantly underpin and support the educational work in St. Stanislav’s Institution. These are the music making in choirs; research work of the Institute for Education Research and Development (InERD); exhibitions in the Slovene Home and the valuable boost of the Alumni Club.
The thriving musical education invites everyone to make music and sing, regardless of ability. The DCG in cooperation with the Music School provides a variety of opportunities to perform with remarkable teacher artists in ensembles, bands and especially in the five choirs, which are renown for their diversity of repertoire.
Institute for Education Research and Development (InERD)
Development and research are at the very core of St. Stanislav’s past and present work with the young. It is carried out mainly through the IESR, which offers support in this field and represents a valued link also with other Catholic schools in Slovenia.
The Slovene Home has been carrying out St. Stanislav’s Institution’s cultural mission since its foundation in 1992. It organises exhibitions of Slovene and foreign artists, as well as guided tours of the Kregar Gallery and the Tršar Room. Through its cultural and artistic activities it connects with Slovene emigrants and compatriots abroad.
The aims of the DCS Alumni Club is to keep fromer students in touch with one another and also with current students as well as to maintain and strengthen the classical tradition and values of DCS. This is achieved through different events.
The School Chapel is situated at the exact centre of the Institution, at the intersection of the building’s diagonals. It is dedicated to St. Stanislav Kostka. Originally it was the most richly decorated space in the entire building. However, history entirely changed its appearance, so that today only its external form remains original, while the entire interior has been designed anew. Apart from liturgy during the week and at Church feasts concerts also take place there.
The presbytery is decorated with a mosaic made by Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik. The basic idea of this masterpiece is new life bestowed by the Holy Spirit. The Easter mystery is represented in the central part of the mosaic: the path leading through death into a new life. The suffering which the Institution witnessed during and after the Second World War now brings new fruits. Today the Institution is a place of hope, growth and creativity.
For more information on the chapel click here
Fr. Rupnik states: “The Church is a place where death is defeated, where the resurrected Christ makes even the most absurd suffering of those who have trusted Him meaningful. The scene confronts us with the idea that the Church is a love territory: reviving, all encompassing, enabling growth, blessing and enlightening. The Church may be revealed as the most astounding surprise also to those who live separated from the Church.”
The organ at St. Stanislav’s Institution was constructed in 2000 by the Diocesan Organ Workshop in Maribor, Slovenia. The organ enhances Holy Mass, is used for lessons by the Music School of St. Stanislav’s Institution, and hosts frequent concerts, national and international competitions and master classes with top European organists*.
For more information on the organ click here
The organ has 50 stops on three manuals. It excels in exemplary sound quality and the action, which is light and immediate. It is the only instrument of this size in Slovenia which enables both purely mechanical changing of stops as well as the use of a computerised sequencer with memory for several thousand register combinations.
Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows
The chapel is situated in the Gymnasium. It was designed and decorated by the academic painter Lojze Čemažar. Students, teachers and parents gather there for morning Mass as well as for Advent and Lenten meditations. Class Masses and Masses of groups from the Jeglič Student Home also take place here.
Chapel of Wisdom of God
The chapel is situated in the Janez F. Gnidovec Residence Hall and represents the centre of spiritual life there. Its concept and design are the work of the architect Janez Gomboc. The central part of the chapel is a mosaic by Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik, which depicts the Virgin Mary, King Solomon and the candidate for sainthood, Bishop Janez F. Gnidovec.
Chapel of the Good Shepherd
The chapel is situated in the Alojzij Šuštar Primary School, and was designed by the architect Robert Dolinar. The school community gathers there for morning and class Masses. It represents a central place of warmth, peace and freedom in the hurly-burly of everyday school life. Through simple Christian iconography it encourages pupils to enter into the Biblical story about the Good shepherd. It invites them to find God, who walks amid people, and the Creator, who resides in the depths of every child’s heart. The Chapel is also a place of acceptance, where children can look into the unknown future, having a hunch they will never be left alone.
The Chapel has a window, through which the sun shines on the tabernacle. A two-ton altar stone, containing the relics of bl. Alojzij Grozde, and the tactility of hand-made sufaces, the smell of wood and sprinkling of light invite us to engage all senses.
Dr. Anton Breznik Library
Before WWII there were many libraries in the Institution. Most of the resources were lost during the war. The present library, named after the last headmaster of the DCG and an excellent Slavist, Dr. Anton Breznik, has been rebuilt in the tradition of a distinguished humanistic library. Its collection ranges from works of fine literature to encyclopaedias, lexicons, dictionaries, manuals, periodicals and newspapers. The library stores much of its literature and material on CD ROM as well.
More than a half of the comprehensive collection are donations, which continue to pour in. Among the largest donations are the ones by dr. Alojzij Šuštar (1920-2007), the Archbishop of Ljubljana, pre-war student of St. Stanislav’s Institution, and the most deserving for returning St. Stanislav’s Institution to its primary mission; France Vodnik, (1903–1986) a literary critic, essayist and translator; dr. Janez Zdešar (1926-2013), a Catholic priest, with long servce in emigration in Germany; and Vladimir Kozina (1920-2014), a Catholic priest, a pre-war student of St. Stanislav’s Institution, who spent most of is life in exile in the USA.
The collection also includes some outstanding books, such as the first edition (1836) of Krst pri Savici (Baptism by the Savica) by France Prešeren, the greatest Slovene poet, as well as Encyclopaedia Britannica and the encyclopaedia Der Neue Pauly, a compilation of the fundamental literature for studies of antiquity.
The reading room is also available for visitors. Annually about 1500 users borrow library holdings. Exhibitions, literary evenings and cultural meetings take place in the library.
The Matija Tomc Concert Hall
The concert hall was well-equipped already from the Institution’s founding. School performances took place there, enlivening everyday life in the Institution. Today the concert hall is suitable for the performances of chamber groups, soloists, choirs, smaller orchestral groups and drama groups. Due to its excellent acoustics, the hall has accommodated numerous recordings as well as piano recitals and master classes.
The school atrium measures 600 m2 and is one of the biggest in Ljubljana. The atrium was designed by the architect Janez Gomboc. The sculpture was created by the sculptor Drago Tršar and represents individuals intertwined in a unified, common form of the Master. The pavement is designed in a simple pattern of a cross with the emblem of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in its centre.
Various performances take place in the atrium. It is also a place where students can spend their free time.
Most sports activities take place in three main sports halls – two in the central building: the large one (42m x 22m) and the small one (9,5m x 18m) mainly for the purposes of gymnasium; and one in the new building (44m x 24m) mostly for the purposes of primary school. Also on the school premises is an outdoor playing field with a running track and basketball court. The large sports hall in the central bilding includes a free-climbing wall size of 18m x 12m, designed anew in 2014.
Facilities available for hire
There are several places in St. Stanislav’s Institution offered for hire. Please contact: [email protected]
The Jeglič Student Home
During the school year, from 1st September to the end of June, availability of facilities depends on the schedule of the DCG. However, during summer holidays the Jeglič Student Home can accommodate up to 250 guests, offering over 30 rooms and 20 apartments with private bath and toilet. There is ample parking for a large number of vehicles.
The Schools Dining Hall
The kitchen facilities operate upon prior reservation and offer either full board, half board, or bed & breakfast. There are two dining halls available, accommodating up to 250 guests.
Situated in the basement, conference rooms are suitable for 10 to 80 participants. Conference rooms can be furnished with up-to-date computer equipment upon request. The computer room in the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium is also well-suited for computer seminars.
The Matija Tomc Concert Hall
Concerts, seminars, conferences and other meetings take place in the concert hall, which seats up to 250 guests. The hall’s acoustics are suitable for performances of chamber ensembles, soloists, choirs and smaller orchestras. Since St. Stanislav’s Institution is situated in the suburbs of Ljubljana, away from city and traffic din, the hall can be used for recording as well. The hall is also suitable for music seminars and music lessons on the Steinway & Sons piano (model D 274).
The Sports Halls
During the academic year and holidays the central sports hall of the gymnasium and the one in the primary school are open to anybody who desires a sound mind in a healthy body. The halls facilitates numerous athletic activities, such as basketball, seven-a-side soccer, volleyball, handball, and a free-climbing school. An outdoor playing field with a running track on the school premises provides even more possibilities for recreation. The Institution’s location is also ideal for those who enjoy taking short walks in nature.
Located near the main entrance of the Institution, this room is decorated with the masterful work of painter Zmago Modic. The room is suitable for smaller groups of up to 40 visitors. It is an ideal place for receptions after concerts or exhibition openings.
At the beginning of the last century, the Bishop of Ljubljana, Anton Bonaventura Jeglič, realised the importance of establishing a gymnasium and institution where students would be educated as intellectuals as well as nationally-conscious Slovenes and good Christians. Part of the necessary resources were raised by the Bishop with the help of several priests, but above all the Institution was built with contributions of the common Slovene faithful.
In July 1901 Bishop Jeglič blessed the foundation stone. The first two-thirds of the institution were already finished by 1905; the last third (the left wing) was completed in 1910. After many years of effort, St. Stanislav’s Institution was the first Slovene gymnasium. On the front of the building the founder inscribed: To Christ – the Saviour of the World.
The gymnasium’s mission was the upbringing of character as well as the education of the intellect, holding to the principle that “a learned person in the realm of science can be simultaneously a nobody of character.”
In 1913 the first maturity examination (comprehensive exit exams or “A levels”) at the first Slovene gymnasium was a historical one – it was conducted in the Slovene language for the first time.
First World War
During the First World War there was an army hospital in the Institution and upper-class students were mobilised into the military. After the war the Institution carried on its mission under new circumstances and in a new state (Yugoslavia).
Second World War
On 28th April 1941 the building was taken over by German occupying forces. The students and the staff had to vacate the building within three hours. However, the process of education more or less continued in different locations in Ljubljana. The school was officially closed on 5th June 1945 and the Institution was taken over by the Yugoslav army. In May and June 1945 the building and its surroundings were used as a concentration camp from which thousands of Slovene anti-revolutionists were taken to execution. After that the Institution served as barracks for the Yugoslav army.
In 1991, after Slovenia’s independence, the first democratically elected government returned the building to its original owner – the Archdiocese of Ljubljana. On 13th November 1992 Archbishop Dr. Alojzij Šuštar legislatively re-established St. Stanislav’s Institution for education. In its realm the following constituents have been gradually set into operation: the Gymnasium, the Student Home, the Music School, the Slovene Home, the Residence Hall, the Primary School and the Kindergarten.
Many Church dignitaries, politicians, and prominent cultural figures from Slovenia and abroad have visited St. Stanislav’s Institution since its reestablishment. On 17th May 1996 St. Stanislav’s Institution had the special honour and joy of welcoming the Holy Father, John Paul II and his escort. On this occasion the Pope blessed the School Chapel and met with some students, employees and benefactors of the Institution.
In 2013 the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium celebrated the 20th anniversary of its reestablishment as well as the 100th anniversary of the first maturity examination carried out entirely in the Slovene language.
In 2011 the fondation stone of the new building of primary school was laid. For seven years classes were held in the central building, but on 1st September 2014 it moved to the newly constructed building next to the institution. On the same day Good Shepherd Kindergarten was founded and set in operation.
Memorial Site Peace be with you at St. Stanislav’s Institution honours all victims of WWI, WWII and post war massacres. It was designed by architect Robert Dolinar in 2015 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI and 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. The memorial site consists of seven stone blocks on which the words Peace be with you (3 Jn 1,15), are engraved in the languages of those who suffered here.
The commemorative year was observed in St. Stanislav’s Institution in the academic year 2014/2015 under the motto: “I am here to love, not hate.” (Antigone, Sophocles)