It was the monasteries that had held and had developed the knowledge of herbal remedies for centuries. During those times, nuns and monks were practically the only ones who took care of the sick, the needy and the weak. In them, they recognized the suffering Christ. Even St. Benedict, the founding father of Western monasticism, wrote in his Rule that "The care for the ill must come before all other duties". At the time, this was considered revolutionary thinking, because the pagan society despised those who were weak or unwell.
bozja2The knowledge of classical languages allowed the monks to build on the understanding already gained by the famous healers of antiquity: Hippocrates, Asclepius, Dioscorides, Galen and many more. Their images can be seen in the frescoes of the Old Pharmacy. Monasteries bore the creation of medicinal work such as Oda Magdunensia, a poem written by a Benedictine monk that explains the use of eighty medicinal herbs; Hortulus by the monk Walahfried Strab in which he describes the plants he grows in his garden for medical purposes. There are also copies of writings by St. Hildegard of Bingen, who lived in the monastery Rupertsberg near Rhine. Allegedly, she received visions regarding useful medicinal herbs and their use. With the development of lay pharmaceutical schools and the increasing use of synthetic medicine the monastic medicine started to recede and in some places, it disappeared completely. The same happened in Olimje after the Paulines' departure.
Today's visitors were not fully satisfied by merely observing the heritage of the monastery but wished that the friars would devote their attention to the quest for health in "God's pharmacy". Hence we, the Friars Minor Conventual of St. Francis of Assisi have complied with their wishes and revived the practice of the medicinal garden and are happy to offer an array of homemade herbal infusions, tinctures, ointments and various other remedies.