Růžena Doušová

* 1915  †︎ 2015

  • “When we left in 1955, we were the last to leave our schools. The deaf and mutes were the last. The others had been [dissolved] ages ago, it started in 1950. So we had five years extra. I guess they thought we wouldn’t be able to spoil them so much seeing as they couldn’t hear.”

  • “We didn’t know how, we hadn’t learnt that, we hadn’t even known we’d be working with them.” (Q: “And what was your impression afterwards?”) “I prepared myself nicely, I wrote down what I would tell them, and then I was just like the children. They gave me the first year, they don’t know how to say anything there yet, you know. So we were there, looking hopelessly at each other, I was telling them something, and no reaction.”

  • “Our grandma lived with us, Dad’s mother. When she had her hundredth birthday, my parents took her to a photographer in Strakonice. That was her first photograph ever. [My parents] told us what she said when the photographer shone his light on her. She told him: ‘But sir, don’t go to such expenses because of me.’ She was so humble. She lived another two years. When she was dying, she said her goodbyes to everyone - we were all lined up around her bed and she gave us each her blessing with a cross on our forehead. And grandma was soon followed by Mum, that was a big surprise. She set us off to school one morning, and by the time my brother and I returned from Strakonice by train, Mum was already in a coffin.”

  • “And then for a while, after Sister Božetěcha died, I did the treasury, I did all the counting. Even now when the abbess was doing the accounts, I did the finish.” (Q: “You did the final accounting...?”) “I still do. But I don’t think I’ll manage it any more, you know. My hands don’t work any more, but they still tell me I write well.”

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    Praha - Kačerov, 14.12.2012

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I took eternal vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience

Sister Paulína photo 2012
Sister Paulína photo 2012
zdroj: Karel Kužel - sběrač

Růžena Doušová was born in Radomyšl near Strakonice on March 7, 1915, the eighth of of ten children. After her mother‘s death, Růžena attended the primary school in Strakonice for two years, followed by another two years in Horažďovice. In 1930 she applied to a teacher‘s institute in České Budějovice. Upon graduating in 1934 she entered the novitiate at the monastery of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Horažďovice. There she was given the monastic name Marie Paulína. The General Council sent her and two other sisters to an institute for the deaf and mute in Prague-Smíchov. She did not undergo any training in special education before her work at the institute, but she tackled the specificities of teaching deaf and mute children quickly with the help of the experienced sisters. In 1950 the Institute was taken under the auspices of the Central National Committee of the Capital City of Prague. Although the Communist regime had already began persecuting the Catholic Church and its institutions, the nuns were allowed to retain their responsibilities because there was no one available to replace them. This was also the case of the institute for the deaf and mute. It was not until 1955 that the sisters were forcibly transferred to the so-called centralization point in Osek near Duchcov. There the trained nuns took up work with mentally handicapped youth. The next stop for Sister Marie Paulína was the monastery in Mnichov near Mariánské Lázně, which was relinquished by the army in 1960. Another institute for mentally handicapped youth was established there, and Sister Paulína rendered her services there until 1973, when she retired. At that time she fell severely ill with a heart disease and had to be hospitalised in Mariánské Lázně. After recovering she returned to Osek, where she replaced the deceased Sister Božetěcha in her function of treasurer. She now lives in the Congregation House in Prague, where she still helps with the accounting.