The enduring strength and record of achievement of the Serbian Sisters Ravanica are deeply etched in our church history. Carrying on the virtues and traditions of their founding members since 1934, the Sisters continue to work diligently for our children and our church. In the past decade, membership has grown significantly, primarily due to the merger of the Mothers’ club in 2008.
In 1955, the Serbian Sisters Ravanica published Serbian Cookery, a collection of Serbian-American recipes from the Detroit community. It was the first cookbook to be published by a Circle of Serbian Sisters organization on the North American continent. Due to its popularity, the book has been reprinted several times.
For over 80 years, the Sisters have contributed in many ways to our parish. The sisters assist church school whenever needed, most notable with Sveti Sava. During Great Lent, the Sisters host a communion breakfast for the congregation, assist with spring cleanup in preparation for Easter services and activities, assemble Vrbe for Palm Sunday, decorate Christ’s Tomb, and prepare the Lenten dinner for the parish on Good Friday. They sponsor activities related to OYAA Basketball and host the Ravanica Youth Program’s end-of-the-year picnic. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, they recognize the parents with token gifts.
Over the summer, the Sisters prepare for Vidovdan, organize and sponsor trips for the children to Michigan Adventure and Diocesan Church Camp, and assist with the annual church picnic.
During the fall, the Sisters host a barbeque to help kickoff the beginning of Church School and the Ravanica Youth Program. Formerly the Mothers; cub Berba, the Sisters’ main fundraiser is the Annual Grape Harvest Ball held in November. This Fundraiser has become the premier social event of our parish and its proceeds benefit our community in numerous ways: the Good Samaritan Fund, various children’s activities and special trips, camp programs, and various beautification projects for the interior and exterior of our property.
Every December, the Sisters provide decorations for the church and hall, give coins to the children on Sveti Nikola and assist with the Nikola Tesla exhibit. They finish the calendar year with their Christmas Cookie Tin bake sale. For Christmas, the Sisters assemble the badnjaks that are distributed to parishioners on Badnje Vece, and line the walkways to the church with luminaries.
The Sisters have contributed significantly to upgrades in our church and cultural center with fundraisers, such as Martini Night, Fashion Shows and Ladies’ Afternoon Teas.
The Sisters have also been dedicated to educating our parishioners in various ways; they hosted “Ask the Expert” - an original series of forums featuring experts in fields such as Estate Planning, Education and Medicine. In addition, a Book Club was formed several years ago that eventually expanded into a Book and Bible Study.
2015 marked the inaugural year of the Sisters’ Scholarship Fund, awarded at Vidovdan to one of Ravanica’s young parishioners graduating from high school. As part of Centennial Celebration, the Sisters published a Lenten Cookbook and showcased 100 years of Ravanica through monthly pictorials.
The Sisters’ philanthropic efforts extend far beyond our own parish. They have supported numerous organizations, such as Stefan’s Hope, Vista Maria, Orthodox Detroit Outreach and All Faiths Unity Walkers.
In 2014, the Sisters were instrumental in raising money for “Sara’s Sight,” a medical fund established to help a young girl from Serbia have eye surgery in Michigan.
With busy lives as wives, mothers, and sisters, this organization recognizes the importance of their work and legacy of service to God, church, and community. A faithful Sister her entire life, Protinica Paulina Mijatovich so eloquently stated:
“We are proud to have carried on this tradition for so many years. We have the strong faith that our younger generation will continue along the same path with the same love and dedication for many years to come.”
The Sisters celebrated their 80th Anniversary and Slava on October 14, 2014, the Feast of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mamie Marinkov, the Sisters’ eldest member, served as Kuma for the celebration.