Even during his lifetime, monk Simon Ašič was the most well-known monk from Stična who, with great kindness and patience, imparted herbal knowledge to visitors, acquired by studying the literature available at the time. He supplemented the experience of other experts with his own experience.
He was born on November 30, 1906 in the village of Raztez pri Gorica near Brestanica, the former Rajhenburg, where the mighty Basilica of the Lourdes Mother of God was built during his youth.
He lived in the Stiš monastery with short interruptions for as many as 73 years. He became the best connoisseur of medicinal plants with a special charisma, that he knew how to listen to every person, especially the patient, to advise and help him. Many who turned to him for advice still remember him with gratitude.
He is a role model for all lovers of medicinal plants. His books in this field found their way into almost every Slovenian family. Due to their professionalism and comprehensibility for all classes of readers, they will long be the best manual for anyone who wants to improve their health through natural means.
Medicinal herbs to help with various problems
Much has been written about the use of natural remedies, especially medicinal plants; from the ancient Chinese recipes of 2700 BC to the Greek physician Hippocrates (400-377 BC) and the Roman Galen (131-201 AD). At the threshold of the new century, Paracelsus also introduced inanimate medicines into treatment.
After the establishment of monasteries in Europe in the 11th century, the use of medicinal plants spread rapidly. In the beginning, they only took care of the needs of the monastic family, but later the monks also helped the surrounding residents. The monks came to the territory of today’s Slovenia in the first half of the 12th century, more precisely in 1136. From the monastery’s chronicle, we can understand that they used medicinal plants, as the rules did not allow other remedies in case of illness. In a document from 1230, an Infirmary is mentioned in the Stiš monastery. This name of the healer – apothecary is mentioned several times.
Unfortunately, after the dissolution of the monastery in 1784, many books from the rich monastery library were lost, including those in the field of healing. There were no Cistercian monks in Stička for 114 years. They returned in 1818, and from that year we can follow the events again.
monk Simon Ašič acquired basic knowledge about the power of medicinal plants already at home, because they used only what nature offered to overcome diseases. He diligently consolidated these insights by diligently studying the available professional literature and thus acquired a respectable level of knowledge. He became a real expert in the field of medicinal plants, as well as a role model for all those who seek help in the wealth of more than 400 medicinal plants that enrich the Slovenian soil.
He began to deal with healing more intensively during the Second World War. At that time, many refugees, mostly exiled priests, took refuge in the poor monastery. Everyone was exhausted and sick. There was a shortage of healers, and monk Simon was able to help them with medicinal plants that he collected himself in the vicinity of the monastery. He carefully wrote down recipes and results.
Books by monk Simon Asič
In this way, enough material was accumulated to publish as many as three books:
Pomoč iz domače lekarne I. (leta 1984);
Pomoč iz domače lekarne II. (leta 1986), ter
Priročnik za nabiranje zdravilnih zelišč (leta 1988).
An honor and an obligation
Taken from the record of Mr. Jožeta Kukman, M.Sc. pharm., 2012:
Visitors who met monk Simon Ašič personally and found comfort in him still come to Stička. They speak of him with great gratitude and respect, always only good things. This is a great honor and at the same time an obligation for all of us who try to continue his work to the best of our ability. We are glad that the efforts have borne fruit. More and more people are learning about the treasure trove of medicinal plants and following the advice that is becoming a guide for a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle. Among the notes left by monk Ašič, we also read these words:
“Man has never been so threatened as he is today. The current pace of life causes him restlessness, fear, constant tension, irritation and general dissatisfaction. Dissatisfied with himself, he withdraws into himself and becomes less and less capable of normal human relations. Such a condition is followed by many illnesses, nervousness, blood circulation disorders, defects of the heart, liver and bile.”
Medicinal plants are also a great wealth given to us. It was in this field that monk Simon Ašič, despite his responsible duties in the spiritual sense, became a great expert, known throughout Slovenia and abroad. His books have already been translated into several languages, and new editions are already being prepared.
We can say with special pride that monk Simon Ašič is widely known among Slovenians, highly valued and respected as the greatest connoisseur of medicinal plants, human nature and, as a priest, also of the human soul. We are grateful to him for all the wealth of knowledge and guidance he left us. May his wealth be repaid, all good: kind words, willingness to listen to a wounded man, restore his confidence, comfort him and help him regain health. We believe that his work will continue to give many people strength and faith in life for a long time, and above all, it will restore health to the sick and the inner peace that today’s people need so much.
Among the visitors of our website, there are certainly many who were lucky enough to meet monk Simon in their lives. We trust that you have many fond memories of him. We will be grateful if you write to us about this or call the monastery or the Sitik monastery company in case of need. There are quite a few testimonies of unusual healings following his advice. Already after the father’s death, we learned from Mr. Franco Novak that he had a tumor on his forehead that grew very quickly. In the hospital, he was advised to have an operation, but according to the written instructions from Asič’s book, he applied a starchy plantain to the affected area and the formation disappeared. During the re-examination, the doctor found that surgery was necessary. We often hear people’s stories that they experienced growth after a long time. They attribute this to drinking tea made from medicinal plants, which they got at the herbal pharmacy in Stična. There are many more similar testimonies. Unfortunately, not all of them are recorded.
Those of you who knew him remember that he used to open the door with his foot during visits even at a late age. When he led visitors around the monastery, he easily jumped onto the window ledge and explained the history to his listeners from there. He liked to include some life wisdom or advice for better health. His optimism, mixed with sincere joy, always impressed. People left satisfied and reassured. Patra’s words accompanied them for a long time and eased the hardships they came with. He also advised a healthy diet several times. He highly appreciated and recommended apple cider vinegar, honey, cabbage, fruit… His breakfast is famous – sauerkraut seasoned with honey. Of the many teas, KRRT tea (nettle, dandelion, yarrow, plantain) remains popular with people today. He used to say: “He who drinks KRRT will not go to mole country so soon.”
Despite his great popularity and wide knowledge, he remained modest. This is also confirmed by his legacy, which you can see in the Museum of Christianity in Stička: prayer books, rosaries, personal documents, an old typewriter, regular clothes, two headgear, some manuscripts. But he left us a huge spiritual wealth: books with rich advice for treatment with natural remedies, from which we still draw and future generations will draw.
All of us who were given a personal meeting with monk Simon Asič remembered several of his qualities: a kind word, a loving look, understanding listening to a person in need, comforting a patient, instilling new hope, choosing the right medicine. Those who turned to him for help left him calmed down, enriched with fatherly advice, a packet of healing teas and recommendations for the future path of life. He himself once wrote:
A large selection of herbal preparations, custom tea blends and advice from a pharmacist
In the herbal pharmacy of monk Simon Ašič in Stična, the cradle of the herbal tradition, which is upgraded with the latest knowledge in the field of pharmacognosy, visitors can get expert advice from a pharmacist and order tea mixtures of medicinal herbs tailored to their own wishes and needs.
The history of monk Simon Asič
- In 1919, he came to Stična,
- in 1924 he entered the Cistercian order,
- in 1925 he went to the Mogilo monastery in Poland,
- in 1927 he graduated
- in 1930, after completing his theological studies, he celebrated a new mass in his home parish of Rajhenburg,
- in 1931 he went to Mogila in Poland again for a while,
- from 1936 to 1941, he worked as a perfect in the Slomškov Institute in Ljubljana,
- in 1942 he was appointed sub-prior in the monastery of Stična,
- in 1945, he was also appointed prior in the monastery of Stis, and he held this position for a full 47 years, until his death,
- from 1949 to 1951 he was the pastor of Stiška parish,
- from 1964 to 1981, he was again the parish priest of Stiška, and during this time he carefully wrote the parish chronicle. A lot was done, which the elderly remember with gratitude.
On the 100th anniversary of the birth of monk Simon Ašič, Pošta Slovenije issued a commemorative stamp in honor of the most famous Slovenian herbalist:
The bust statue of monk Simon Ašič, located in the botanical Garden.