Prague Spring opened up my path to priesthood
Václav Málek was born on 20 August 1927 in the village of Slavíkov. After completing six classes of basic (lower primary) school, his parents sent him to the municipal (upper primary) school in Trhová Kamenice. He finished the school in 1943, but his grammar school application was denied. To avoid the employment office, he found a place as an assistant accountant at the village council. A decree in March 1945 meant that the witness had to go dig trenches around Brno. A month later the guards fled before the encroaching Red Army, and Václav Málek could thus spend the last days of the war in his native region. He signed up for grammar school, but in 1946 he left the school with his parents' permission and joined the Hospitaller Order of the Brothers of St John of God. In 1949 he was drafted for two years of compulsory military service. The Czech province of his order was dissolved in the 1950s. It was not until the period of Prague Spring that he successfully applied to study at a theological faculty; he was ordained a priest by Bishop František Tomášek in 1973. He then ministered to three small parishes in the Pilsen Region for a number of years. After democracy was restored in the country, the witness returned to the Brothers Hospitaller of St John of God, and he now lives in the order's monastery in Brno and goes by the monastic name of Vojtěch (Adalbert).