Mirko Gogala was born at Šmarje-Sap in 1919. As a railwayman’s son, he moved from place to place on several occasions, among other things he attended the elementary school at Dovje and Jesenice. He finished the grammar school in the Institute of St. Stanislav at Šentvid near Ljubljana. He then entered the seminary in Ljubljana, where he studied at the Theological Faculty.
Due to the war conditions, he could no longer return to his home, which was under the German occupation. He found a refuge with the Oblak family at Šentjošt near Horjul. This area was in the Italian occupying territory in 1942 and was more secure for staying. In Šentjošt, he witnessed a partisan attack on the first village guard and arson of the village that followed. On 18 June 1944, at the time when Slovenia was still in the armour of the Nazi yoke and when the communist revolution was in its full development, Mirko Gogala had a new mass at Šentjošt.
In May 1945, as a refugee he moved to Austrian Carinthia and joined there a group of theologians. This solved him of certain death, he did not return to Yugoslavia together with the members of the Home Guard and civilians who ended up in the caves of Kočevje, mine pits, ditches and abysses. From Klagenfurt he went to Italy where he studied at the Roman Pontifical University.
The route then led him across the ocean to Argentina. He completed his doctorate at the Slovenian Theological Faculty in Argentina. Then he was a chaplain at various Argentine parishes and at a military hospital in Buenos Aires, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He lectured the ecclesiastical law at the Slovenian Theological Faculty, at the diocesan seminary in Paraná and at the Theological Faculty of Del Salvador University. He was nominated for the General Vicar of the Diocese of San Miguel and the Pope’s honorary prelate. Then he was the general director of all diocesan schools, which were in “his” diocese of over 30, with more than 10,000 boarders. He took care of the spiritual care of the Slovenes and the Argentines, and he was wholeheartedly dedicated to his profession.
Recorded in: Maj 2014, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Conversation led by: Marta Keršič, Camera: Peter Keršič