Svatá Dobrotivá Church and Monastery
Founded in 1262 by Lord Oldřich Zajíc of Valdek, the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary Monastery with its church dedicated to St. Benigna, called Svatá Dobrotivá in Czech, was the first Augustinian monastery in Bohemia, and marked the arrival of Augustinians in what is now the Czech Republic. The church is dedicated to, and bears the name of, Svatá Dobrotivá due to the fact that her relics rest in the church, providing yet more incentive for pilgrims traveling to the monastery. Lord Oldřich Zajíc of Valdek is said to have had a vision in the night where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and requested that he build a church and monastery “for her servants” (namely, the Augustinian monks who were new to the area), thus explaining the name of the monastery. 750 remarkable years later, St. Tomas Church in Prague's splendid Mala Strana, or Lesser Town, district is spearheading the most recent restoration project on the Monastery, returning it to its former pristine condition with the goal of creating a family retreat center. Annually on the Saturday of the 6th week of Easter (May 19th, 2012, May 4th, 2013, and May 24, 2014) St. Tomas Parish organizes a Marian Pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Gracious Madonna at Svatá Dobrotivá Church to celebrate and honor St. Mary and remember the legend which claims that everyone who comes to the sanctuary of this monastery and lays their problems at the feet of Mary will be heard, with Mary taking their problems upon herself. For those dedicated to St. Mary, this is a pilgrimage site on par with Lourdes or Guadalupe, though lesser known. Located in the town of Zaječov near the pilgrimage town of Příbram, which boasts Svatá Hora (Holy Mountain), and its renowned collection of Nativity sets, the restoration project currently underway at Svatá Dobrotivá Church is of utmost importance to the Augustinians in the Czech Republic as it marks not only a very important pilgrimage site, but also the preservation of what was returned to them after Communism fell in 1989. For more information on the pilgrimage, restoration work, the Svatá Dobrotivá Church and Monastery, or Augustinians, please see www.augustiniani.cz/en.
Svatá Dobrotivá, Zaječov