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Don Wolf Croatian photographer and benefactor in Kansas City USA
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  05/23/2011 | People , Education , Culture And Arts , Charity | Unrated
Benefactor of Croatian orphans

Mr. Don Wolf

Don Wolf

About 1956 at Donnelly College, a nun, Sister Mary Faith Schuster, unbeknownst to her and myself, launched my career. In her English Composition class, she gave us an assignment called "Observations” and taught me a different way to “see."

She encouraged me to take notes as she guided me to view light and shadows at different times of day and to see shapes, colors and texture as they complimented or evoked tension within a given scene at a given time and place.

I was encouraged to look closely at travelers on the bus, a fallen leaf, the glow of the first rays of sun raking across bridges spanning the Kaw River and the beauty of the creases gently positioned on the faces of my older neighbors on Strawberry Hill.

It was just the matter of learning to master the tools to capture what God had so beautifully created with the art of photography and “to write with light.”

The United States Navy gave me the first opportunity as I served two years aboard an aircraft carrier, The USS Kearsarge, CVA-33, as an aerial photographer.

Once discharged, I worked for other great photographers and until I formed my own photographic business, attempted to absorb the best of what each seasoned artist had to share. I took every correspondence course and class in photography that was available to me throughout the country.

Photography has allowed me to visit many countries, meet many people and experience life in a way that I could not have in any other way. I have been blessed.

My greatest comfort is that I think that I have made some small difference in the lives of Croatian orphans via the vehicle of photography, showing the needs and presenting it to the good people of America.

Through their generosity, they have and are providing a safe shelter for the children at St. Theresa’s and St. Joseph’s orphanages. Please visit:


Friendly chat in Gorski Kotar, a mountainous part of Croatia

Plitvice Lakes, the most beautiful lakes in the world. Protected by UNESCO.

Spirituality of Croatians, seen by the photo-camera of Mr. Don Wolf.

A famous photo by Don Wolf: late Ana Žagar in St. John's Catholic church, 1968, KC, in front of crucified Christ.

Mr. Don Wolf with Croatian nuns

Dubrovnik is the most beautiful mediaeval city in the world. Protected by UNESCO.

St. Theresa’s Orphanage in Zagreb

When I first visited St. Theresa’s Orphanage in Zagreb, Croatia in 1993, the roof was leaking, the floors were warping, the bathroom plumbing was rusted, the washer and dryer were inadequate, and there was no elevator to go up and down the four-story building. It was on January 19, 1994, when the Croatian Council of Kansas City, with the help of the Croatian Fraternal Union, the Croatian Catholic Union and friends of Croatia throughout America were able to send our first donations to St. Theresa’s. Sister Katarina came to Kansas City and together we begged for financial support throughout Kansas City and Omaha. The word spread throughout the Croatian community of America and soon donations were coming in from New York to Seattle.

We replaced the plumbing, installed a new washer and dryer, replaced the 75-year-old roof, added a small elevator, repaired the floors and the walls and converted a dark, wet attic into a computer learning center to prepare the youngsters for a future.
We had a job to do and we did it. The nuns are so grateful to you. But now we have a new challenge.

Sister Katarina, a mover and a shaker, was transferred to St. Joseph’s Home just outside of Zagreb. St. Theresa’s is a home for infants to about seven years old. Then, if they are not adopted, they are transferred to St. Joseph’s. Here the youngsters are from the ages of eight to 20, hoping to get an education to prepare them to enter the workforce of Croatia.

When I visited St. Theresa’s and St. Joseph’s on June 5 - 7, 2008 to re-evaluate our progress and see what else needed to be done I found St. Theresa’s in fine shape but was alarmed at what I found at St. Joseph’s. St. Joseph’s was not built for human habitation. It was originally a cow barn and transformed into a habitable space in 1917. The sisters were taking in children who lost their parents in WWI and have continued to take in children ever since. There never have been enough finances to build a new home for the children and so they continued repairing and adding on to the cow barn.

St. Joseph’s is at the point where it can no longer be repaired. There is a constant moisture problem under the building and it creeps up into the floor, the walls and the ceilings. Enough moisture has gotten into electrical boxes and the current had to be shut off. Mold is growing everywhere.

They are not on city water and rely on a pump which does not always work because of an erratic source of electricity. The water that they do get via the pump is not healthy and so they have to purchase water for drinking and cooking. The children haul much of the water in buckets from a building some distance away.

There is only one answer - build a new St. Joseph’s Home for children. Sister Katarina and her biological sister, Sister Kristina, are again asking for our help. I can only ask you to keep giving in these difficult times.

We will retain the checking account for St. Theresa’s and if you want to donate you may write the check to St. Teresa’s and in the memo write, “St. Joseph’s Home”. We will wire the funds directly to Sisters Katarina and Kristina Piskovic and they will take if from there.

Please do what you can to support this worthwhile effort by sending a check in any amount to:

St. Theresa/St. Joseph
c/o Don Wolf
3535 N. 63rd Terrace
Kansas City, Kansas 66104

Thank you for your support.

Most sincerely and gratefully,

Don Wolf
And the Children and Sisters of St. Joseph’s Home for Children
For more information, please visit an article on
St. John's Catholic Church

Thank you and may God Bless.


Links related to the region of Gorski Kotar, Croatia:

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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