Providing accommodations for elderly Sisters in Eastern Europe
The former Czechoslovakia was one of the countries in Eastern Europe where the Church was most brutally persecuted during the communist era.
The Catholic faithful at that time were subject to repression and reprisals, many priests were imprisoned or sent to labour camps, the convents were dissolved in 1950. And, the consecrated people being no exception, in a covert police operation, male and female religious were forcibly deported to “concentration convents” – isolated centres where they were deprived of all contact with the outside world. Church historian Vaclav Vasko has described these places as “nothing else but supervised concentration camps for religious.” Nuns and Sisters were urged to throw away their religious habits in exchange for freedom and a chance to study. But almost all of them refused and remained faithful.
February 20, 1969, the atheist journalist Milos Vetvicka, writing in the “Reporter,” decided to call for the rehabilitation of the 7,646 Religious Sisters in Czechoslovakia at that time. He wrote “They wear long habits and a large cross on their breast. They live subject to pressure and discrimination, but they endure their fate with a smile, because Golgotha is also their mission. They hope in another world, because our world has proved to them that there is no justice in this one.”
Following the political changes in Eastern Europe, the former Czechoslovakia was divided into two separate republics, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Today people in this land can live their faith freely. But the Sisters who lived through those difficult times of oppression are now older and frail. And so it came to be that the Norbertine (Premonstratensian) Sisters, in what is now the Slovakian town of Vrbove, are caring lovingly for their elderly Sisters in religion.
Many of the Sisters who now need special care were recently moved from their former home which had become dilapidated and unsuitable, and placed temporarily in an evangelization centre. However, this is only a short-term solution since the centre can no longer be used for its intended purpose of pastoral work with the laity. And this work is also important, of course, as a means of deepening the faith of the people. And so the congregation wants to build additional rooms where the frail and elderly Sisters can be cared for properly.
Aid to the Church in Need is eager to help. We have promised 21,750 CAD. Sister Akvitna has already thanked us in advance saying, “May the Lord reward you for everything you are doing for the welfare of Holy Mother Church! ”
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