With the start of the Bulgarian independence movement in the 18th century this also set in motion a reverse immigration of Bulgarians living in Wallachia. Prince Ferdinand von Coburg-Gotha became regent in 1887 and finally attained full sovereignty of his kingdom in 1908.
Prince Ferdinand sent colonists in the German settlement regions of south-eastern Europe and Russia. Many German families followed his appeal and travelled hundreds of kilometres into an uncertain future.
The entire settlement process lasted over a decade. By 1899, 117 families had already settled in Zarev Brod (Or Enidje/ Ensche).
As already mentioned, the settlement process stretched out over a considerable number of years. Not all of the prospective settlers had the necessary initial capital, so some settled in the “Chifliks” (estates) and cultivated the land as half-share farmers (Halbscheidbauern). Eventually they also moved into the newly established German settlements.
Due to the mass exodus of the Turks from Endje and the surrounding region, large pieces of land were available at low prices. Besides agriculture, the newcomers also tried their hand at introducing grape growing, because the soil and climate provided excellent conditions for viticulture.
Despite their diligence and tenacity, the young community had to overcome a lot of obstacles like droughts and bad crops. Ten families returned to Hungary, seven to Bessarabia; another five families emigrated to America.
The much-needed benefit of spiritual and moral support came to the settlers from Father Franz Krings, a young German priest. Initially, Father Franz resided in Shumen (called Shumla by the Germans and the Turks). Every Sunday a farmer gave him a lift him to Endje, where he celebrated German Mass in a villager’s house. After the service he talked to the settlers about their problems.
After the first small church was built in 1902, Father Franz moved to Endje.
The settlers’ first church was built and consecrated on April 19, 1910. Three years later a convent was built to accommodate the Catholic teaching nuns from Tutzing, Bavaria, who were to educate the children in their mother tongue. The school opened in January 1914 and had 37 children.
By then, the German community consisted of 74 families; however, most of them were resettled to Germany. Only a few remained, such as the Hummels and a couple of nuns. The nunnery exists to this day, populated by a dozen nuns from Bulgaria, Germany, the Philippines, South Korea, Brazil.
The unfortunate outcome of World War I resulted in some serious repercussions for the German settlers. Following the advice of the German Consul, those who were not Bulgarian citizens, left the country. Among them were Father Franz, the Sisters and about 60 settlers. They were allowed to return gradually to their beloved Endsche (Zarev brod). It was a day of great rejoicing when the father Franz returned on May 13, 1920.
The building of the colony resumed, despite some inclement weather. In the meantime many German settlers had managed to build a handsome farm with considerable livestock. Some farmers owned as much as 800 decares of land.
At the end of the Second World War, the Benedictine sisters ran a kindergarten, a German school and an orphanage. The sisters helped the parish in its pastoral work by teaching Bible to children, youths and adults. They also provided nursing care in the homes of the parishioners.
In 1944, the German settlers, together with some of the German Sisters, went back to Germany before the Russians entered Bulgaria. In September 1944, the communists took over. In 1948 the remaining German Sisters were expelled from the country.
In 1952, the Monastery was taken by the communist government and was turned into a psychiatric hospital. The sisters were employed but they had to live in the attic of the building.
After the political changes in 1989, the Congregation started discussions as to who will continue the work in the Bulgarian mission. The Congregation decided to start a New Beginning.
German, Philippino and Korean Sisters have come to help the surviving five Bulgarian sisters. They live from the modest produce of the rented property and from the production and sale of natural healing products such as herbal ointments and others. One sister gives English lessons in the public school and also private students.
The many poor and unemployed people in the area are a special concern to the sisters who try to help them. A women's group makes and offers handmade items for sale. This group offers a warm meal once a week to young people who have low income. The religious education of people is also the main concern of the sisters' ministry. They instruct children, young people and adults in the Catechism and prepare them to receive the sacraments.
Presently, the sisters live in two communities: Zarev brod community in the Northern Diocese of Russe and Sekirovo community in the Southern Diocese of Sofia /Plovdiv.
With the democratic developments, the first thing to be done was to find a NEW APOSTOLATE that suits the present situation. This necessity appeared as soon as the Bulgarian Catholic Church came out in the open together with the faith that had survived in the hearts of many and a small parish community started to emerge and develop.
Today, 72 - 80 believers are regular members of the catholic faith. On Sundays, 30 - 40 people from Shumen and Zarev brod come regularly for Mass.
The monastery yard has a big and well-kept garden. A part of the German school has been renovated and is used as an all-purpose room for Bible Studies, meditations, Religion lectures, as well as a meeting place for children and for youth groups.
The Monastery of "Benedictine Sisters of Tutsing" is the only active Catholic monastery in northeastern Bulgaria, because Catholicism is not the main religion in Bulgaria.
For a long time now the monastery is famous for its healing salve made by the nurses that is used to treat burns and skin diseases.