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Slovenian Union of America member Paula Bajda Mavec set to climb Mt. Triglav


It’s not often that the adventure of a lifetime is determined at the young age of 70. In a few months, Slovenian born Paula Mavec, a Joliet resident for over 50 years, a Slovenian Union of America member for over 40 years and a nurse at Provena St Joseph Medical Center for 30 years will travel to Slovenia with her family to climb Mount Triglav.

Mount Triglav peaks at 9,392 ft. high and is situated in the Julian Alps near the Italian and Austrian borders. It is the Julian Alps' highest peak. 'Triglav', in Slovene, is said to mean ‘Three‐Headed', tri ‘three’ and glava ‘head’.

Paula is vigorously training for meeting with Mount Triglav. She begins the day by attending Mass at the Cathedral of St. Raymond. Immediately following, she hits the gym at Provena St. Joseph Medical Center where she begins a series of stretches and then walks (quickly) up nine flights of stairs, 180 total, and then down again, not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times! She has been doing three sets, (540) nonstop, since early February and just added another set this week to make 720 stairs.

And if that isn’t strenuous and remarkable enough, Paula then spins on the stationary bike and walks for over an hour in the park near her house which has some hills. She alternates the exercises every other day but attends Mass every day and rests every Sunday.

Paula was born in Slovenia in 1942 and soon after her family escaped from their country, spending five years in an Austrian refugee camp before immigrating to America in 1949 and settling in Northern Minnesota with her family. In 1961, while a college student, Paula found a summer job in Joliet’s Slovenian row. Here, she met her husband Albert, began a family and started a new life as wife, mother and nurse.

Celebrating Paula’s mountain climbing adventure in Slovenia will be coupled with a 90th birthday party for her Aunt Ana Gaspirc, and a family reunion for 200 relatives, some coming from as far as Mendoza, Argentina.

Oh, did I say that Paula’s son, Mike Mavec, is simultaneously competing in the Ironman Tri-Athlon in Klagenfurt, Austria?

To make a pledge for Paula’s ‘Mount Triglav or Bust’ adventure which supports the Slovenian Union of America, visit

For more information about Paula as she embarks on this monumental adventure at the young age of 70 or The Slovenian Union of America please contact Mary Gornik Carmody at 847.354.2108 or by email at

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