Monk Simon Ašič

Monk Simon Ašič was the most famous Stična monk already in his lifetime. With great kindness and patience, he shared his knowledge of herbalism obtained by studying the literature available at the time with the visitors. He supplemented the experience of other experts with his own.

He was born on 30 November 1906 in the village of Raztez pri Gorici near Brestanica, former Rajhenburg, where the mighty Basilica of the Lourdes Mother of God was built at the time of his youth.

With short breaks, he stayed in the Stična monastery for as long as 73 years. He became the best connoisseur of medicinal herbs and had a special charisma – he knew how to listen to every person, especially patients, and advise and help them. He is still fondly remembered by many who sought his advice.

He is a role model to everyone who is interested in medicinal herbs. His books in this field have found their way into virtually every Slovenian family. Thanks to their expertise and comprehensibility to all readers, his books will remain the perfect handbooks for anyone seeking to improve their health in a natural way for a long time.

Medicinal herbs as help for various problems

Much has been written about the use of natural remedies, especially medicinal herbs; from old Chinese recipes dating back to 2700 B.C. to the Greek physician Hippocrates (400-377 B.C.) and Roman Galen (131–201 A.D.). On the verge of the Modern Era, Paracelsus introduced inanimate remedies into medicine.

After the establishment of monasteries in Europe in the 11th century, the use of medicinal herbs spread rapidly. At first, monasteries only served the needs of the monastic family, but later monks also helped the residents of the surrounding area. Monks came to the territory of today’s Slovenia in the first half of the 12th century, more accurately in 1136. It can be understood from monastic chronicles that medicinal herbs were used because the rules did not allow any other remedies in case of illness. A document from 1230 mentions an infirmary worker at the Stična monastery; this term denotes a healer – apothecary and is mentioned several times.

After the abolishment of the monastery in 1784, many books from the wide selection in the monastic library were unfortunately lost, including those in the field of healing. No Cistercian monks were present in Stična for 114 years, but they returned in 1818 and have been present since then.

Monk Simon Ašič acquired basic knowledge about the power of medicinal herbs already at his home where they treated diseases using only what nature had to offer. He diligently consolidated those insights by studying the available expert literature, thus obtaining a respectable level of knowledge. He became a true expert in the field of medicinal herbs and a role model to anyone seeking help in an abundance of more than 400 medicinal herbs growing in Slovenian soil.

He became more intensively engaged in healing during World War II. At that time, many people sought refuge at the Stična monastery, mainly exiled priests, all of whom exhausted and sick. Due to a lack of medicines, Monk Simon helped them with medicinal herbs which he picked in the area surrounding the monastery. He carefully noted down the recipes and results.

Books by Monk Simon Ašič

There were enough materials to publish three books:

Pomoč iz domače lekarne I. (Help from Home Pharmacy I) (in 1984);
Pomoč iz domače lekarne II. (Help from Home Pharmacy II) (in 1986); and
Priročnik za nabiranje zdravilnih zelišč (Manual for Harvesting Medicinal Herbs) (in 1988).

Honour and obligation

Taken from the record of Mr Jože Kukman, Master of Pharmacy, 2012:

Stična still receives visitors who met Monk Simon Ašič in person and found solace in him. They speak of him with great gratitude and respect. This is both a great honour and an obligation for all of us who do our best to carry on his work. We are pleased to see that our efforts have delivered results. An increasing number of people are learning about the treasure of medicinal herbs and following advice which is becoming a guideline for a healthy mental and physical lifestyle. Below is an extract from the writings left by Monk Ašič:

“People have never been as much at risk as they are today. The current life tempo is causing anxiety, fear, constant tension, irritability, and general dissatisfaction in them. Dissatisfied with themselves, they tend to withdraw into themselves and are becoming less and less capable of having normal human relations. This results in various illnesses, nervosas, circulation disorders, and heart, liver and bile disorders.”

Medicinal herbs are a great wealth given to us by Mother Nature; and this is the field where Monk Simon Ašič, despite his other responsibilities in the spiritual world, became a great expert known throughout Slovenia and abroad. His books have been translated into several languages and new editions are underway.

We can say with special pride that Monk Simon Ašič is widely known, highly appreciated and respected as the greatest connoisseur of medicinal herbs, human nature and, as a priest, also the human soul in Slovenia. We are grateful to him for the wealth of knowledge and advice that he has left. May his wealth be well repaid: kind words, willingness to listen to the wounded and diseased, fill them with trust, comfort them and help them regain their health. We believe that his work will continue to serve people for a long time and give them the strength and faith in life and, most of all, restore the health of the diseased and the inner peace that is so much needed today.

There are surely many of those among the visitors of our website who were lucky enough to meet Monk Simon during his lifetime. We believe that you have many nice memories of him and would be very grateful if you wrote a few words about this or call the Stična monastery or Sitik. We already know about quite a few testimonies of extraordinary healings following his advice. After Monk Ašič’s death, we learned from Mr Franc Novak that he had a tumour on his forehead which grew very quickly. The hospital advised him to undergo surgery, but he decided to follow the written instructions from Ašič’s book and applied crushed plantain on the affected area, and the tumour disappeared. At his next appointment, his doctor confirmed that surgery was no longer needed. We often hear couples say that they finally had the baby that they had wanted for a really long time. They attribute this to drinking tea prepared from medicinal herbs from the Herbal Pharmacy in Stična. There are many more such testimonies but, unfortunately, not all have been recorded.

Those who knew Monk Simon Ašič still remember that he opened the door with his foot even in his old age. Whenever he guided visitors around the Stična monastery, he jumped on a window sill with ease and explained the history to the listeners from there. He liked to include some life wisdoms or instructions to improve health. His optimism, coupled with sincere joy, was always inspiring. People left the guided tours happy and reassured. Monk’s words stayed with them for a long time and helped them overcome the issues that they had when arriving to the monastery. He often gave advice on a healthy diet and highly valued and recommended the apple cider vinegar, honey, cabbage, fruit… His famous breakfast consisted of sauerkraut seasoned with honey. Of the many teas, the KRRT (nettle, dandelion, yarrow, and plantain) tea has remained popular with people to date. Monk Ašič used to say: “Those who drink KRRT will live a long time.”

Despite his great fame and broad knowledge, he remained humble, which is also attested by his legacy that can be seen in the Museum of Christianity in Stična: prayer books, rosaries, personal documents, an old typewriter, monastical clothing, two sets of covers, and a few manuscripts. He left us an immense spiritual wealth: books with plenty of advice for treatments with natural remedies, which we still use today and will be passed on to the future generations.

Ašič in person

Those of us who had the privilege of meeting Monk Simon Ašič in person remember him for many of this characteristics: his kind words and a caring look, listening to people in distress with understanding, comforting patients and giving them new hope, and finding the right remedy. Those who turned to him for help left reassured and equipped with fatherly advice, a pack of healing teas and recommendations for how to proceed. He once wrote:

“I am the happiest when sick, depressed and pessimistic people who came to me visit me again healthy and happy.”

A wide selection of herbal preparations, custom-made tea blends, and pharmacist’s advice

Visitors of the Monk Simon Ašič’s Herbal Pharmacy, the cradle of herbal tradition which we continuously upgrade with the latest findings in the field of pharmacognosy, can get expert advice from a pharmacist and order custom-made herbal tea blends.

The history of monk Simon Asič

  • Came to Stična in 1919,
  • entered the Cistercian order in 1924,
  • Left to the Mogilo monastery in Poland in 1925,
  • graduated in 1927,
  • after completing the theological studies, held a new mass at his home parish of Rajhenburg in 1930,
  • again left to the Mogilo monastery in Poland for a while in 1931,
  • served as a perfekt in the Slomšek Institute in Ljubljana from 1936 to 1941,
  • was appointed a subprior in the Stična monastery in 1942,
  • was appointed a prior in the Stična monastery in 1945 and held this position for full 47 years, until his death,
  • served as a pastor of the Stična parish between 1949 and 1951,
  • again served as a pastor of the Stična parish between 1964 and 1981; in that time he focused on writing the parish chronicle and accomplished a lot which the elderly remember with gratitude.

Commemorative stamp

On the 100th anniversary of the birth of Monk Simon Ašič, the Post of Slovenia issued a commemorative stamp in honour of the most famous Slovenian herbalist:

Bust statue

Bust statue of Monk Simon Ašič at the Herbal Garden.