Students for Life – Croatia
Mateja Borovec is a great dreamer. She dreams of abortion becoming unthinkable one day, and every mother and pregnant woman being taken care of and happy because she’s carrying life within herself. Utopia? Maybe, but she is convinced that it is worth dreaming about it because that is how we bring a new wind into our pro-life endeavors. Her dream took her on the adventure of starting the Association ”Students for Life – Croatia,” through which she is motivated to make further efforts in order to make that dream come true step by step. As a wife and mother of two children, she is becoming more and more aware of the challenges of these callings every day. This makes her even more motivated to act and be a beacon to those who need the Light.
Filip Đekić is a law graduate, who completed his studies with a graduation thesis on the topic: Abortion and the legal status of the father of the unborn child.
In 2020, he became a certified mediator for mediation procedures at the Croatian Mediation Association, and in 2021 he passed the WIPO course on intellectual property.
He has been in the pro-life fight for many years. From the very beginning, he participated in 40 Days for Life in Croatia, was part of the national team of this initiative, and a member of the Association “Croatia for Life”. He has led several 40 Days for Life campaigns in the city of Zagreb.
One year, he also participated in the organization of the March for Life, and is currently volunteering as an editor and columnist on the muzevnibudite.com web site. He is a lawyer at the Ordo Iuris Foundation and is currently a trainee lawyer at the Jagar & Grebenar law firm.
Filip was born in 1990 and comes from a large family as the eldest of four children.
Marina and Vladimir Hoblaj
The married couple Marina and Vladimir Hoblaj from Mursko Središće are parents of six adopted children and foster parents of a large number of children, seven of whom still live in their family.
The first years together after the wedding in 1983, Marina and Vladimir spent traveling as Vladimir performed all over Europe with his music group. In 1989, they returned to Croatia to dedicate themselves to a family business for meat processing and trade after their spiritual rebirth. Since then, both have been active in Christian and charitable programs, primarily humanitarian work during the Homeland War, and Marina also volunteered for some time as an assistant to transport children with the most severe forms of disability at Caritas Home in Čakovec.
For several years, Vladimir was a member of the International Association of Christian Business People “CBMC International” and was one of the initiators of similar initiatives in Croatia. In 1992, he spent time on the Pakrac battlefield, which is why he joined the “Association of Veterans, Soldiers, and Patriots,” in front of which he had the opportunity to present his work entitled “Biblical spirituality as the foundation of post-traumatic growth after the crisis” at the 2nd Croatian Congress of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy in 2019 in Karlovac. The youthful depression was the impetus for him to complete educational programs for Christian counseling at the American organization “Grace Ministries International” in Budapest and Atlanta, where he also worked as a counselor for a short period of time. Newly discovered knowledge and acquired skills led him to found the Association “Hope for Life” in 2000, where he worked as a lecturer, counselor, mentor, and therapist.
The meeting with the American director Richard Montez and his devotion to art led Vladimir to found the “CornerstoneArts Croatia Theater” in 2007. In addition to starring in plays, Vladimir was the producer of several world-famous musicals and Christian-themed dramas performed by the theater in Croatia and the region, while Marina helped as a costume designer.
In 2009, the Hoblaj family closed their family business and devoted themselves to foster care. Marina soon became the president of the local foster care association, and later the “Forum for quality foster care of children.” She initiated numerous campaigns in favor of foster children, and in 2015 she hand-made scarves for the “500 scarves for 500 Christmas presents” campaign. Marina was one of the main actors in the UNICEF project “We see them differently, we love them equally,” and she participated in the implementation of the National Conference on Foster Care dedicated to the development of foster care for Roma children.
In 2016, Marina and Vladimir launched the “House of Opportunities,” a housing project for young people leaving the social welfare system with a mentoring program for their lifelong independence, and since 2018 they are actively involved in the international Christian initiative “World without Orphans.” In 2021, Vladimir published the book “What to do when the ground shakes under your feet,” and Marina joined a group of mothers who presented different experiences of motherhood in the book “Moms for Moms.”
For their social work, the Hoblajs received various awards: the Zrinski Award (2000) and the Međimurje County Charter for the highest merits in social welfare and humanitarian activities (2019), the Mursko Središće Award for long-term contribution to humanitarian work and for promoting reputation of the city (2016), and the award Pride of Croatia for 2018. The President of the Republic of Croatia in 2019 also awarded Marina the Order of the Croatian Danica with the figure of Katarina Zrinski for outstanding contribution to promoting foster care and work with children without appropriate parenting care. In the same year, she received the award for person of the year of the city of Mursko Središće, and in 2021 she was elected juror judge for the youth at the Municipal Court in Čakovec.
Lisa Koslosky is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. She is happy to be a part of our pro-life community in Croatia for the second time. Lisa graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies, and from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a master’s degree in Theology and Christian Ministry with a certification in Catechetics.
Lisa has worked professionally as a Director of Youth Ministry at the parish level, then as a high school religion teacher for five years. When she became an adoptive mother, she homeschooled her children for about ten years.
Lisa has been a member of Pittsburgh’s 40 Days for Life team under the direction of Nikki Bruni for the past twelve years. She currently serves as a Shift Manager, schedule coordinator, and blog writer for the team, and she has additionally been trained as a Sidewalk Advocate.
Her current paid work is through a Pittsburgh-based organization called Renew the I Do, for which Lisa is a one-on-one marriage prep facilitator. Lisa and her husband Randy also speak about six to eight times per year at various marriage preparation programs, on the Catholic teachings on sexuality in marriage, including Natural Family Planning, as well as the topic of infertility and adoption.
Lisa and her husband Randy will be married for 21 years this October. They have two adult daughters, one who is married, and one in college.
Vice President of HLI – Goa
Ethel Pereira is from Goa, India. She graduated from Indira Gandhi National Open University with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy.
She is the Vice President of Artists for Life (Human Life International – Goa) a Pro-life organisation that brings together students and artists to convey the pro life message through various art forms such as acting, music, dance.
She has been a catechist in her parish in Majorda, Goa. Her love for learning and interest in studying foreign cultures has attracted like-minded people across the globe. Currently residing in Zagreb, Croatia, she learns Croatian with the hope of enjoying a novel in the language one day.
Damir Šehić is a priest of the Zadar Archdiocese. He was born in Biograd na Moru in 1988, where he also finished primary school. He graduated in Rijeka from the Catholic Faculty of Theology at the University of Zagreb in 2012 with a degree in Theology with a thesis called The Great Pneumatologist of the West – Aurelius Augustine under the mentorship of Prof. Nela Veronika Gašpar, PhD. In the academic year 2015/16, he enrolled in postgraduate studies at the Catholic Faculty of Theology of the University of Zagreb in the module Ethical, moral and social relevance of theology and the Church, in the field of Moral Theology.
From the beginning of the academic year 2018/2019, he has attended the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome – Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, 1. Ciclo di Comunicazione Istituzionale, and during his stay in Rome he was a cadet of the Pontifical Croatian Institute of St. Jerome. In the same academic year, 2018/2019, he began teaching the courses Basic Moral Theology, Bioethics, and Social Doctrine of the Church at the Theological and Catechetical Department of the University of Zadar, in the associate title of assistant professor. Under the guidance of his mentor, Prof. Tonči Matulić, PhD, he defended his licensure work in 2019, in the field of moral theology-bioethics, entitled Abortion in the Perspective of Bioethics and Biomedicine. In June 2020, he defended his doctoral dissertation on the topic of Theological and bioethical evaluation of constitutional court decisions on abortion, under the guidance of his mentor, Prof. Tonči Matulić, PhD, and Prof. Josip Grbac, PhD. Since June 2021, he has been employed as a postdoctoral student at the University of Zadar.
He has focused his scientific interest on specific topics of moral theology and bioethics, especially on issues of human dignity and its understanding in contemporary culture, borderline issues of the beginning and end of human life, contemporary challenges of transhumanism etc.
leader of the “Healing of the Fathers’ Heart” program
I am 44 years old. I was born in Split where I graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. During my studies, I was a member of the Franciscan Youth. Later, I joined a prayer community where I met my wife Marija with whom I have been married for 9 years.
As Marija was involved in 40 Days for Life from the very beginning, I was also acquainted with the goal and program of this initiative and thus became more and more involved, not as part of the team, but as a volunteer, as well as technical support.
At the instigation of Father Marko Glogović and the Association “Croatia for Life,” I became the leader of the “Healing of the Fathers’ Heart” program helping men affected by the consequences of abortion.
prof. dr. sc.
Prof. Ana Štambuk, PhD, completed a four-year study of religious pedagogy and catechetical pastoral care at the Catechetical Institute at the Catholic Faculty of Theology in Zagreb and a study of social work at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. She has a master’s degree from the Faculty of Medicine and a doctorate from the Faculty of Law.
She is employed at the Social Work Study Centre at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. She is head of the Department of Social Gerontology. At the undergraduate level, she teaches the course Social gerontology, and at the graduate level Selected areas – social work with the elderly and Palliative care. She also teaches social work and social policy at the PhD level.
She participates, as an organizer and lecturer, in international scientific conferences, professional symposia and round tables. She also participates in domestic and international scientific projects as well as in radio and television shows. She has published over 30 scientific and professional papers.
She completed her education in reality therapy and education in the field of social gerontology and palliative care both in the country and abroad.
She actively participates as a volunteer (lecturer and organizer) of courses for volunteers in palliative care, a course of terminal palliative care for primary care physicians / family medicine and a course of palliative care for the staff of homes for the elderly and infirm, and homes for the mentally ill.
She was president of the Croatian Association of Hospice Friends and a member of the Commission for Palliative Care of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. She is a member of the Croatian Association of Social Workers and the Croatian Society for Hospice and Palliative Care, as well as the Croatian Chamber of Social Workers.
She is married and the mother of three children.