Rude Awakenings

Roundups that changed lives and congregations forever.

Sister Fidelia, Daughter of St. Francis was a young nurse in Bratislava who told of a bus coming at midnight, police surrounding the convent.  “It was raining very hard and we were taken to a castle.  The next morning we were taken to the fields where we did heavy work.  The guards never struck us. Once a month a high official came and the guards reported everything.  When a guard did something good for a person, he was called Bratislava and asked why he did the good deed.”

Sister Fidelia, Daughter of St. Francis was a young nurse in Bratislava who told of a bus coming at midnight, police surrounding the convent.  “It was raining very hard and we were taken to a castle.  The next morning we were taken to the fields where we did heavy work.  The guards never struck us.  Once a month a high official came and the guards reported everything.  When a guard did something good for a person, he was called Bratislava and asked why he did the good deed.”

Abandoned properties of the sisters were taken over by the Religious Public  Register, an arm of the communist party.  Whether a castle or an empty monastery, places where sisters from multiple congregations were taken were called centralized or concentration convents. These dwellings offered few amenities; lack of heat in winter; crowded living and sleeping conditions; outdoor toilets. The multi-congregation situation was a benefit as sisters were strengthened by one another which helped them to sustain some of the extreme suppression in which they found themselves.  A Slovakian sister said: “This forty year experience united us, caused us to value our vocations, taught us to appreciate other religious.  We supported each other and recognized the richness in one another.”