To Love out of Gratitude – The 30-Year-Story of St. Stanislav’s Institution

The Jubilee Motto – To Love out of Gratitute

Various stages in the life of men and institutions illustrate their growth, which through time define their identity. St. Stanislav’s Institution was founded on 13th November 1992 and a year later lessons started in the partly renovated building. It was returned to the Archdiocese of Ljubljana by the then government of The Republic of Slovenia, led by Mr. Lojze Peterle and the Minister of Defence Mr. Janez Janša.

In the academic year 2023/24, we mark the 30th anniversary of the reestablishment of St. Stanislav’s Institution, which was founded by the Bishop of Ljubljana Anton Bonaventura Jeglič in 1905 as the first entirely Slovene gymnasium. He had an exceptional vision of the future. We are grateful that the alumnus, the Archbishop Alojzij Šuštar, initiated by some enthusiastic parents, made it possible that St. Stanislav’s Institution today represents the leading educational and cultural establishment of The Archdiocese of Ljubljana.

The renovation of the main section of the Institution and building of new schools on the area of former military barracks have provided the vertical learning environment from primary and music school to gymnasium, student home and residence hall to gallery, exhibition and concert management.

The mission of St. Stanislav’s Institution is to foster the integral personal growth of each individual in the community for the betterment of the wold.

We are grateful for each and every one who has been employed in the Institution so far: directors, headmasters, teachers, guardians and maintenance staff who have shared their experience with children and students; we are deeply indebted to all who have enrolled at different schools in St. Stanislav’s Institution and parents for their trust. Every day almost 1500 young people form their lives and create their future here. The school’s motto Amor magister optimus materialises the vision of being included in the life of the youth, and fostering their relationship with God.

Love is the best teacher in the present and the future. It is our ardent wish that the young would discover and materialize their mission in the Church and society, thus bettering the world for themselves and generations to come.

Ad multos Annos, Zavod sv. Stanislava.

Anton Česen, M.A., Director

28th Annual Concert of the Choirs and Orchestras of St. Stanislav’s Institution

The Impressive Nine Choirs from St. Stanislav’s Institution on the Biggest Stage in the Country

28th Annual Concert of the Choirs and Orchestras of St. Stanislav’s Institution

The concert took place on Sunday, 14th May, 2023 at 6.00 p.m. in Gallus Hall in Cankarjev Dom (Ljubljana). The fil rouge of this year’s concert was the young heart’s song, which suggests that it was the creative force of a young person’s heart that brought about the unprecedented joy and creativity of all the singers of nine choirs (St. Stanislav Youth Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, directed by D. Močnik; St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, directed by H. Fojkar Zupančič; Chamber Choir Megaron, established and directed by D. Močnik; The First-Year Girls’ Choir and The First-Year Boys’ Choir of DCG, directed by M. Kozmus and T. Bec; St. Stanislav Student Choir, conducted by M. Praček Prašnikar; Alojzij Šuštar Primary School Children’s  and Youth Choirs directed by N. Janežič and T. Bec; and (Re)Mixed Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium directed by M. Kozmus) and two orchestras (the String Orchestra of Matija Tomc Music School, directed by D. Močnik and Ž. Faganel; and Orchestra Symphony 23, conducted by M. Zupanc Kovač). They performed a variety of compositions ranging from renaissance to modern genres, from folk music to religious pieces and musicals. Polona Gantar, journalist from Radio Slovenia, attended the event and this is how it resonated with her.

“Anybody who knows at least a little about the Slovene choir scene, is aware of the fact that music holds a special place in St. Stanislav’s Institution. This is what the audience felt at the Sunday concert. Every year the abundant measure of youthful enthusiasm about music, singing, music making and spring zest is sensed, and this time it was no different. The conductors of choirs and orchestras know it all too well that this status is never self-understood and cannot be taken for granted. These conductors of the choirs and orchestras are one of the most dedicated and learned in the country and so are the young singers and instrumentalists of all vocal and instrumental ensembles in St. Stanislav’s Institution. Most probably there is no other school or music establishment in Slovenia which prides itself on such diversified music activities, especially the choral ones. However, what really needs to be emphasised is not the quantity but the exceptional quality of their performance, which the audience has been witnessing for years and is in fact improving from year to year. This was a first-class music event. The only additional observation one could make is that the young can shape their values, life views and work habits very effectively through music, of which the music pedagogues in St. Stanislav’s Institution have been well aware for years. The audience has sensed it strongly tonight. I believe there has not a single concertgoer who has not touched by this joyous performance, which was followed by standing ovations.” /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Spring Excursion of the School EU Club to Brussels

Priceless experience – the DCG students participating in the conference on media freedom in Slovenia, European Parliament, Brusells

The visit took place from 7th–11th March 2023 and included getting to know the European Parliament, meeting two of the Slovene MEPs, admiring some of the Brussels highlights, going to Bruges and joining friends at Sint-Jozefscollege Torhout.

This is how the entire event resonated with one of the DCG students, who participated in the event: »As part of the School EU Club, the students headed first to the European capital Brussels.  First, second and third-year students set off on Tuesday, the 7th March, while the graduates started their adventure a day later. After an hour and a half of flying, we arrived at Charleroi Airport, where we were greeted by heavy rain. We then took a one-hour drive to Brussels, where we arrived at the hostel. On our way we made a few stops so that we could get some refreshments, and then we started our visit of the center of Brussels. First, we took a look at the famous Atomium, then we saw the peeing boy and the main Brussels square, which was fairytale-like in the evening. The next day, however, we were a little surprised by the weather as it snowed in Brussels, which is very unusual for this time of the year. We visited the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and an exhibition of the Belgian artist Magritte. Before lunch, we visited the chocolate museum, where we learned about the history and production of chocolate, and of course, we also had a delicious tasting. Then we enjoyed some free time until early evening, when the graduates arrived at the hostel, too and we had a joint dinner with MEP France Bogovič. On Thursday, we visited the European Parliament, where we were welcomed by another Slovene MEP Romana Tomc. There we also attended the conference on media freedom in Slovenia, where some of our students participated with questions. They addressed issues concerning the importance of national media. One of the students also remarked on Slovene media in general. After the conference, we went to a restaurant Chez-Leon and had some free time.

The following day we had a mass at the Slovene Pastoral Center, where we dined. On Friday, we headed to the beautiful old town of Bruges. We had an hour and a half to see the city center and then headed for Sint-Jozefscollege Torhout. We made a tour of the school and its facilities and had lunch there. There we met some of the students we knew from previous Erasmus exchanges, especially Small Countries Strong Cultures. The singing festival took place in the school on the day of our visit, so we watched an artist’s concert from Benin X-time. Then we headed back to Brussels, where we had some free time till the end of the evening. Saturday and our last day began with a visit to the European Parliament, where we looked at the history of the European Union and its institutions. Then we had some free time and headed home to Charleroi Airport and eventually to Ljubljana. We felt extremely grateful for such an interesting excursion especially to both teachers that accompanied us, Ms Hočevar, Geography teacher and Mr Grošelj, Philosophy teacher and mentor of the School EU Club.” /Jernej Perko, year 3/

The Closing Student Exchange Visit in Germany – Futur€nvironment Project, Erasmus+

In the week of April when Earth Day is celebrated a group of students from the DCG took part in the student exchange taking place in Mallinckrodt Gymnasium in Dortmund, Germany from 18th to 22nd April 2023. This is how the participants themselves experienced this exciting event.

»On Tuesday morning we set off for Frankfurt, then continued to Dortmund by Germany’s fastest train. We arrived in Dortmund at around 6 pm, where we were met by our host families. We spent the evening in the warm embrace of their homes. On Wednesday morning we officially started our exchange at our partner school Mallinckrodt Gymnasium. The name of the project is Futur€nvironment, so our programme included topics and activities to raise awareness of environmental issues. We discussed pollution, global warming, carbon footprint and sustainable lifestyles. In the project were involved students from six countries; Germany, France, Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia and Slovenia. First, we started with various icebreaking activities so we could get to know all the participants. We continued with a tour of the school. The Catholic school is located in the city centre and has more than 1000 students. It was named after Pauline von Mallinckrodt, a nun who played an important role in women’s education at the end of the 19th century.

In the morning, we took part in workshops. After lunch we went on a “selfie tour” of the city. In mixed groups, we discovered hidden corners of the city that contribute in their own way to sustainable development and a better quality of life. Dortmund is a relatively new city, having been destroyed by bomb attacks during WW II. It is one of Europe’s greenest cities, with many parks, tree plantations and gardens. Infrastructure is also modern, with the exception of a few old industrial buildings. /Iza and Eva, year 3/

On Thursday, we woke up to a slightly rainy morning, but that didn’t dampen our spirits, as we knew we had to make the most of every day. We gathered at school at 8 o’clock and headed to the atrium, where we were briefed on the day’s schedule. We had various workshops available, and some of us (Eva, Iza, and Jurij) continued with the Water Heroes workshop from Wednesday. Our relationship with water was examined and what we can do to keep it clean, while others participated in the Future of Energy workshop, and the rest in Let’s be Sustainable workshop. In the Future of Energy workshop, Zarja and Ajda, along with other participants, discussed the problems of using non-renewable sources of energy and their impact on the environment. They thought about alternative energy sources and the challenges we face in transitioning to greener energy sources. They wrote a letter to the European Union Commission to make them aware that young people care about the world they will live in. In the Let’s be Sustainable workshop, Anja, Ema, and Neža, along with others, first learned about what we can do ourselves for a better future, and then they recorded a DIY video showing their newly acquired knowledge, teaching us how to make our own waste bags from newspaper. Then came our favourite part of the day, snack time, followed by the second round of workshops. We had three different workshops available: Urban Future, DIY Shower Gel and Soap, and Design Your Own Jute Bag. At the Urban Future workshop, attended by Ema and Jurij, we saw how our cities could look in the future, and then the participants themselves designed and made their own “houses of the future,” which were then put on display. At the DIY Shower Gel and Soap workshop, Zarja, Anja, and Ajda learned something new about microplastics, which are found almost everywhere, even in shampoos and water. Then they made their own environmentally friendly shower gel. The last of the workshops was Design Your Own Jute Bag, where Eva, Iza, and Neža learned about the advantages of using sustainable bags and decorated their own reusable bag. We then had a brief summary of all the activities we had done, and then we headed to our hosts. /Jurij and Zarja, year 2/

On Friday morning, we took a bus to the Gasometer in Oberhausen, where we saw the fragile paradise exhibition. The exhibition was on three floors, and viewing the city and its surroundings from the roof was possible.  The exhibition was held in a building in a form of a silo, which was intended for the storage of gases.  It was written on the exhibition flyer that “The aim of the exhibition is to show the beauty of our planet, which is worth protecting, but it also means to draw attention to the abuses that threaten our paradise.”  On the first floor there were various pictures of our planet, its biodiversity, and natural and cultural features. On the second floor there were pictures of our planet destroyed by global warming along with activities that pollute the environment presented in the form of pictures.  However, measures and goals to prevent further warming were also displayed. On the 100 m high third floor there was a 20 m large model of the earth on which various videos were projected.  We were able to observe the paths of planes and ships, the illumination of the earth at night due to cities, the formation of continents, the melting and formation of ice in the wider area of ​​Antarctica and the Arctic and much more. The entire city of Essen and its surroundings could be seen from the top of the building.

Afterwards, we had lunch and then attended the closing ceremony. It started with watching the videos made at the various workshops in which we participated.  All the products that were made were put on display. We looked at the products of different workshops then took each of our products and stored them. Having finished with this, we sat back and there was a presentation of all the people who participated, from students to teachers and hosts.  Here we also received a certificate of attendance. A feast with juice and pizza followed.  We had the last chance to say goodbye to students from some countries (Macedonia, some Germans), but others we were to see the next morning.

On Saturday we gathered at 9.30 in the morning, when our host families drove us to the hotel where our teachers were staying. There we said goodbyes and thanked them for everything they had done for us in the time of our visit. After that the teachers took us to the nearby Catholic church, were Mrs. Stenovec explained its characteristics. We came to the conclusion that the church was built in the Gothic style. After the short lecture we had a quick prayer and then we separated for our last adventure around Dortmund. At 13.55 we met at the hotel again and made our way to the train station. We spent some quality time, travelling around and getting to know Germany, which was great fun and interesting, but we were all looking forward to coming home. /Anja, Neža, Ema and Ajda, year 1/


Easter Greetings 2023

Stane Kregar, Risen Christ, 1965, fresco Parish Church in Šempeter in Savinjska dolina, Slovenia

“Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” John 20,8-9

May the celebration of Easter open our eyes to the light of the Risen, so that our lives may reflect the hope that he bestows upon us!

Felix Alleluia!

Anton Česen, M.A. Director

The Spanish Tour 2023 of St. Stanislav Youth Choir and String Orchestra

“Any tour is priceless for the improvement of young musucians’ performance as well as the general well being of the artistic community”, Damijan Močnik, conductor

St. Stanislav Youth Choir and St. Stanislav String Orchestra took part in a music tour in Spain from 18th – 25th February 2023, which included also an Erasmus+ exchange visit of The Professional Conservatory of Music of Cartagena. This is how the entire event resonated with one of the enthusisastic participants.

“When we left the school at midnight on 18th February 2023, we were all tired because of the singing practice before, so we soon fell asleep on the bus. We made a stop in Montpellier, France, where we spent the night and visited the city centre later during the day. We also stopped at a beautiful antique town of Carcassonne. This is a charming little town, but its streets were deserted. We continued our way to Spain and arrived in Cartagena early in the morning, so we had some time to have brunch. We stayed in Cartagena for three days. In the mean time we had singing practices. We explored Cartagena’s streets, hidden places, cosy cafés and ancient highlights. At a fancy looking restaurant, called Mare Nostrum, we had lunch twice. I can say that the choice of food on the menu was interesting. On Tuesday we had a concert with one of the Spanish choirs in a local church in Murcia. Together we sang one Spanish and one Slovene song. We had another concert at the Conservatory of Music of Cartagena. While singing Raindrops keep falling on my head, the lights suddenly went out for a second or two, and it was quite a shock for some of us. Fortunately, they were on shortly after. The concert was a huge success, which was expressed by one of the thrilled visitors, a native Scot and a professional retired musician, with the following words: »Saw the concert on Tuesday night in Sucina – tremendous! The youth choir had a beautiful, rich sound with a fine balance between the voices in the a capella pieces. The whole programme had a good variety of music and the Spanish premiere of Močnik’s mass Missa St. Francisci Assisiensis was very well performed by choir and orchestra to an enthusiastic audience. Overall a great concert, really enjoyable and a worthwhile experience.”

It was time for us to leave for Barcelona. On the way we stopped in Valencia, a beautiful city, where we had a delicious lunch. We arrived in Barcelona in the evening, and as we were all really hungry, we went to a nearby Italian restaurant. The next day was our last day of the tour. Barcelona is a big city and has a lot of spectacular sights, but we only had time for Parc Güell, the majestic cathedral Sagrada Familia, La Rambla and the stadium Camp Nou. Some of us even managed to go to the beach where we took a quick swim in the cold sea. After a wonderful last day in Barcelona we said farewell to Spain and saved our memories in our hearts.

At the end of the tour Damijan Močnik, the conductor and leader of artistic activities at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, told us he was satisfied with the progress our choir had made and was proud of us for singing the whole concert program by heart.” /Maša Vintar, year 2/

National Winner of Juvenes Translatores 2023 Is From Diocesan Classical Gymnasium

Elizabeta Tomac, National Winner of Juvenes Translatores 2022, is a Music and Language Lover

Elizabeta Tomac, has joined twenty-eight other students from all over Europe for winning the 2022 translation contest for secondary schools ‘Juvenes Translatores’! Elizabeta translated from French into Slovene. Another student from the DCG, Ana Leskovar, who also translated from French, received a special mention for her translation. Year 2022 was the European Year of Youth, that is why the young Europeans and green policy were the topics of the texts which young translators from across Europe had to translate.

We all agree that Latin, which both of the above-mentioned competitors have been learning now for the third year, contributed to the excellency and accuracy of their translations. In March 2023 Elizabeta will travel to Brussels with Eva Pišljar Suhadolc, English teacher from the DCG in charge of the Juvenes Translatores 2022, to collect the award for the most accurate translation of Slovenia. This year The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium has competed for the sixth time and won the competition four times! Well done indeed!

The Contest in Numbers

For the 16th time since 2007, 2883 students from 681 secondary schools across the European Union translated texts. They could choose from any of the 552 possible combinations between any two of the EU’s 24 official languages. Students used 141 language combinations. All winners chose to translate into their strongest language or mother tongue, as the official translators in EU Institutions do. The aim of the contest is to promote language learning in schools and give young people a taste of what it is like to be a translator.

The Slovene Context of Juvenes Translatores

On the national level, there were 31 students competing from eight Slovene high schools. There were five contestants from the DCG, translating from English, French and German. The obligatory languages taught at the DCG are Latin and English, some students take also classical Greek, but all have to choose a third foreign language from German, French, Spanish or Russian. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Invaluable Music Treasures from the Past

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir – Total Immersion and Focus

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir, from Ljubljana, Slovenia ranks among the best girl choirs in the world. It is one of the five school choirs at The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in St. Stanislav’s Institution. The choir comprises of 40 girls between the ages of 15 and 18, but there is much turnover among singers; each year about a third of the girls leave at graduation, while new singers join.

Last year the choir prepared an outstanding musical event intertwining songs and dances with the music of an exceptional woman from the High Middle Ages, Saint Hildegard of Bingen. It bears the title Caritas abundant in omnia/ Love Aboundeth in All Things. The musical performance is enriched by a new musical setting by a Slovene composer Damijan Močnik, which combines seamlessly past and present.

Hildegard’s music, which represents the spiritual expression of The High Middle Ages, is extremely demanding to recreate. For this very reason, it is so valuable that this project has been launched by such young girls. With all their hearts’ creativity they dedicated themselves to the studies of almost one thousand-year-old musical notation and spiritually rich texts, which are so different from anything they encounter today. With courage and determination, they have left behind the world they know, the fast world, often of superficial nature, and entered into the profound message of love, wisdom and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The choir’s interpretation of this Medieval mystic, composer and polymath are full of girls’ tenderness and so convincing that overwhelm even the most demanding listener.

Music and choir activities at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium along with the above-mentioned concert reflect the school’s mission statement in its main points. St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir with 40 teenage girls, who each definitely seek for their own identity and role, who undoubtedly cannot succeed without each other, without the complementing community, as only together they can sound harmoniously. With their teacher Saint Hildegard, the girls could not but include the Christian values – from their personal faith to music making in a singing community, which both inevitably result in personal growth and excellency in anything the young singers do. The result is inspiring and it fully realises the school’s motto Amor magister optimus/Love is the Best Teacher. This is the most precious piece of advice a teacher can give to a student. You are kindly invited to listen to how love sounds!

/Helena Fojkar Zupančič, Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Christmas Greetings 2022

Stane Kregar, Virgin Mary with Child, 1960 oil on canvas, 62 x 50 cm, The Kregar Gallery, St. Stanislav’s Institution

In the depths of every heart, love creates bonds and expands existence, for it draws people out of themselves and towards others. Since we were made for love, in each one of us ‘a law of ekstasis’ seems to operate: »the lover ‘goes outside’ the self to find a fuller existence in another«. For this reason, »man always has to take up the challenge of moving beyond himself«. Pope Francis, Encyclical letter Fratelli tutti

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year 2023.

Anton Česen, M.A. director

Best in English Language Competition

On November 30 2022, students of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium took part in the international online English language competition Best in English. There were 22,779 participants from all over the world, 1007 from Slovenia. The students from our school performed very well; the maximum number of points was 118 and the following students came close to 100: Jerneja Podgorelec, 4. A  scored 102.5 points, Klara Lešnik, 3. B 100.5 and Tadej Skubic, 4. A got  100 points. Congratulations to all the competitors! /Manca Golob/