Type: Religious, Historical, National Treasure
The Church of St. Vincent de Paul is the oldest surviving Catholic structure from the Austro-Hungarian period in Sarajevo, as it was built even before a church hierarchy was established in BiH.
The first Religious Sisters of Mercy, whose patron saint was Vincent de Paul, came to Sarajevo in 1871, when parish priest Father Grg Martić provided lodging for them in a little house next to the old parish church on the Miljacka. In 1874, some land was purchased for them, on Kovačići, which is where the convent and girls' school were built.
In 1879, during Austro-Hungarian occupation, these buildings were set on fire, and the Sisters went to Zagreb, but they returned the following year.
Seeing that the number of students was growing, Josip Stadler, the first archbishop of Sarajevo, purchased a plot of land that is now surrounded by Titova, Branilaca Sarajeva and Šenoina Streets. It was here that a church and convent were built in 1883, while the school and the St. Vincent de Paul Institute were built in 1904.
A public kitchen was opened in the building following the annexation of BiH in 1908, and a High Trade School found a home here in 1939.
The convent and school were damaged during the bombing of 1941, and the German Army was housed here after the Nazis took over the city. After Sarajevo's liberation in 1945, the complex was put under the jurisdiction of National Liberation Army (NOV) units.
The building became state property in 1949, and a few of the nuns were ordered to move to Kraljeva Sutjeska, which was part of the the nuns' mother house in Zagreb, while several others stayed on to work in the city hospital.
Numerous cultural, sports and educational organizations were housed here over the coming decades.
During the war (1992-1995), the school, convent and church were damaged by shelling, and the space was later used to house refugees. The nuns who returned during those years opened 11 specialized clinics, a pharmacy and a public kitchen, all with help from the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna and Caritas.
The Medical High School (part of Catholic School Center) continued to work in the renovated building from 2004 to 2015, and the convent reopened on September 14, 2014.
The entire Church of St. Vincent de Paul complex (which comprises the church, the Sisters of Mercy Convent, a school, a garden and movable heritage) has been a National Monument of BiH since 2011.