“One time, when I went to an interrogation, I arrived at the gatehouse of the Prosecutor’s Office. A secret agent arrived and took me upstairs, where the walls were covered with metal sheets. There were metal sheets everywhere, nothing else to be seen. We entered. There was a very long hallway. After a certain distance, the bars closed behind me. I walked some more and again, the bars closed behind me. If they had decided to torture or strangle you, you wouldn’t have been able to escape. And meanwhile, they were playing some terrible human screaming. Even if you skinned someone alive, they wouldn’t scream so terribly, I think. But it was supposed to create a certain psychological effect.”
“Was it a recording played in order to make you more vulnerable?”
“Most probably. I didn’t realize it straight away, only later. I remember thinking that if somebody had done something wrong, this place would have made them confess. It was so scary that I felt chills running down my spine. I wondered whether it was even possible to make such a scream.”
“It hurt, of course, I can’t say that I was as brave as it may have seemed. But I have never hated the people hurting me, I have never felt real anger towards them. The way I saw it, if the Lord let it happen, I had to endure it. I had to accept it. And I must repeat, I met many people who were doing bad things if they were forced to in some way. Particularly if they were parents who had children. A parent will do anything to ensure the safety of their child. And sometimes, they even do things they would otherwise never do.”
“There was this gentleman. He had many titles, I don’t know how many exactly. He was accompanied by a lady with the title of Doctor. During the interrogation, he got very emotional in front of me. He said that he was having a hard time because of what he was doing, that even his mother reproached him. He said that his mother was very harsh on him because he was persecuting a nun. He said that it was too much, and he said it out loud during the hearing. After one hearing, I decided to wait for him after everyone else had left. I knew that it wasn’t his fault, that somebody else was forcing him. That’s what I was thinking. Maybe it was the Lord giving me strength. When this gentleman stepped out of the doorway, we shook hands and I told him: ‘Don’t worry, I’m not angry with you. I know that they are pressuring you into this and that you have children. You care for the children, don’t you? Be at peace, they forced you to do this, I know.”
Almost every evil has its cause if you search deep enough in one’s heart
Sr. Ľudmila Kalafutová (given name Oľga) was born on 21 April 1945, in Ľubica. Her father, Jozef Kalafut, worked on his own farm, and her mother, Mária Kalafutová, née Čongvová, took care of the househould. The Kalafut family valued religion and family ties. During the process of collectivisation, her father was labelled a ‘kulak’, and the state confiscated his property. The family had to face persecution in their everyday lives. After completing her primary education in Ľubica, Sister Ľudmila went on to study at the School of Catering in Kežmarok, from which she graduated in 1963. After graduation, she worked in the central office of the Podtatranské reštaurácie restaurant group in the Poprad district. She was later promoted to the Head of the Department of Statistical Planning. When normalisation started, she decided to join the Order of Saint Vincent. She became a nun in 1970, and she adopted the religious name of Ľudmila. As a nun, she was first assigned to a charity house in Dolný Smokovec, where she participated in the renovation works of the building. As a result of the state’s effort to abolish religious orders, she was fired from her job. After that, she participated in organising the secret activities of her order in even more difficult conditions. In 1974, she bought a house in Kežmarok for the purposes of her order. In 1986 the house was raided by the State Security as a part of a large-scale operation against nuns. In the following years, Sister Ľudmila faced numerous interrogations and court hearings as the main defendant of the criminal offence of obstructing the state’s supervision over religious bodies. After the fall of communism, she worked in the Charity House in Vrícko as the Provincial Superior between 1989 and 2002. She was later appointed President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors in Slovakia. In the present day, Sister Ľudmila Kalafutová lives in the Charity House in Vrícko and leads a consecrated life.