Emilie Slavomíra Měřičková

* 1930  

  • “So they took both the cyclostyles, all of the typewriters, and the books, of course. But some three days later four or so of them came back, that during the search, that they had found a treasure trove in the monastery, a bathtub full of gold, that the children of our republic could live off that or have bread for a whole year. And they found a printing shop there, for Solidarita, some of the members of Solidarita - that is, Solidarita was starting up in Poland, and they were a bit worried about it. Well, and so they came back after the raid and wanted to see the golden treasure. I said: ‘Please, you couldn’t have seen any golden treasure here, you went everywhere, you saw everything. Well, and the search is over, and we just... just leave.’ But they kept nagging until finally I said: ‘Come and have a look then. In the corridor leading to the choir loft, there was a cupboard, an ordinary cupboard with an ordinary lock, where there were two or three chalices, a monstrance, and perhaps a pyx. From when some sisters moved out of a house, either they left it there, or they took it with them. They had an expert with them, and he said with ridicule: ‘Oh, that’s not old, but the nuns... they can mask it and claim it’s from whichever century.’ Just, to always find some way to beat down on a person and humiliate her. Well, and they were also very anxious to look into the crypt under the church, where there’s a little coffin with bones that were exhumed from a graveyard when the Nechranice Reservoir was flooded. True, some of the villages there were flooded, so the bones of some priests were kept in the coffin, or entombed in the crypt. So that also gave rise to gossip, that those were the nuns’ babies, and, well, we endured much, but everything ends and only God is forever.”

  • “‘Gather up in one room and bring the illegal pamphlets.’ So I said: ‘We don’t have any illegal pamphlets. We have permission to print our breviary, and we do so, but we do not have any illegal pamphlets.’ ‘Well, gather up then.’ So we gathered, we called it the culture room, which had two couches in it for if we had visitors, so they had somewhere to sleep. Well, so of course the first thing was that we immediately lost contact with the outside. The manager was at the office, and his wife worked in some restaurant by the Prunéřov power plants, and people stopped by the restaurant to ask: ‘What’s going on at the monastery? There are so many NSC or Public Security officers [policemen - trans.] there, so many cars.’ Well, so she phoned her husband at the office, and ‘what did she want?’ the guards asked immediately. ‘Well, my wife asked what was going on here, that there’s a lot of cars here.’ We immediately lost contact with the outside world. And so back to the room, where it was both us nuns and the sick people as well. We were supposed to hand over the pamphlets, printed matter, so we claimed we didn’t have any. ‘Well, if that’s how it is, we’ll do a search.’ So we said: ‘Please, so you don’t go on your own, we - we want to be present.’ So we made, I think, three groups, two nuns and two men, because we knew that otherwise they might slip in some pamphlet or a weapon somewhere, and then there’d be a trial, interrogations, prison... Well, and so the first thing was that they started opening the cupboards, the drawers, they even looked under beds, behind wardrobes. And they started throwing out books. We only had books for the given season, of the current part of the liturgical year, in the church, because the books were printed on office paper and we couldn’t have it all in the church, so the ones we didn’t need in the given liturgical season we kept in our rooms. And so we said: ‘Please, don’t take those, we spoke about those, Prague knows about that.’ ‘Well, I’ll ask.’ He went off for a bit [, then]: ‘Everything, we’re taking everything.’ They took even the smallest typewritten or cyclostyled scrap of paper. They took from us, from me as well, even the cyclostyled book I got during my novitiate. And they loaded it up in the cars, because if you think there were more than ninety of us nuns there, that was a lot of books!”

  • “So on that 27 September past midnight, the last Holy Mass was celebrated in our chapel in Bojkovice, and we got into the bus, they told we weren’t to take anything with us, just our personal things, that everything would be transported there, that we were going to Bohosudov. But we didn’t trust them much because at the time there had been a lot of talk that in Russia they were deporting nuns to Siberia, so we didn’t really have any certainty of where we were or weren’t going.”

  • "Tak jsem nastoupila do odborné školy pro ženská povolání. Začal u mě hlubší vztah k Bohu. Byla jsem ve druhém ročníku a život sester se mi zalíbil. Začala jsem uvažovat, že bych byla jednou z nich. Rodiče s tím ale nesouhlasili. O posledních prázdninách mě poslali do Bratislavy, kde jsme měli příbuznou tetu. Mysleli si, že přijdu na jiné myšlenky. Já jsem ale trvala na svém, že půjdu do kláštera. Tatínek nakonec řekl, že si mám dělat, co chci. Mrzelo mě to, doma jsem to milovala. Doma byla pohoda, měli jsme se rádi. Nevím, proč se tomu tak bránili, protože jsme byli věřící rodina. Modlili jsme spolu třeba. Tak jsem se začala balit a šla jsem na vlak. Přijela jsem do Bojkovic, a tak jsem vstoupila k sestřičkám. Bylo to v únoru 1948, kdy vítězili komunisté."

  • "V 1981 komunisté měli ještě tolik síly a odvahy, že u nás v Kadani udělali velkou prohlídku. Bylo krátce po poledni, přiběhla za mnou sestřička a říkala mi, abych šla dolů, že je v klášteře hodně lidí. I psi jsou tady. Šla jsem dolů a všimla jsem si, že tam po klauzuře pobíhají už nějací muži. Ptala jsem se, co se děje. Vystoupila jedna žena, vypadala jako esesmanka, měla kožený kabát, upnuté kalhoty, vysoké boty, protože byl říjen. Řekla, abychom se (pozn. sestry) shromáždily. Pak nám sdělili, že mám vydat všechny ilegální tiskoviny. Řekla jsem, že žádné ilegální tiskoviny nemáme. Že sice máme cyklostyl, kde si tiskneme liturgii hodin, tedy breviář, ale to je s dovolením pražské charity. Ukázali nám nějaký papír a že udělají domovní prohlídku. Tak jsme řekly, že chceme, aby s nimi vždy šla nějaká sestry, nebo dvě, protože už jsme věděly, že někde podstrčí nějaké zbraně nebo něco, a pak z toho dělají veliké soudy. Před klášterem stála auta veřejné bezpečnosti. Těch knih, co odvezli bylo hrozně moc. No mě také vyšetřovali, říkali, že mě tak přitlačí ke zdi, že budu mluvit jinak. Řekla jsem jim, že to neměli dělat, že jim to neprospěje. Že jsou tu samé starší sestry, které celý život těžce pracovaly a staraly se často o ty nejubožejší. A teď by na to stáří mohly v klidu žít a ne takto, aby s námi jednali. Takto s námi zacházeli. A ten jeden tak šeptem říkal, to jsem slyšela, říkal ´Jak budu rád, až vypadnu z tohoto domu.´ Tak přece se v něm něco hnulo."

  • "Ale v 1950 už jsem se dovídaly (pozn. řeholní sestry) nebo jsme věděly, že v dubnu vyvážejí komunisté řeholníky z klášterů. A tak naši představení mě poslali do Bojkovic na Uherskohradišťsku. Když tam komunisté zrušili školu, tak tam byli sirotci, batolata. Představení si říkali, že nás batolata zachrání, že se o ně budeme starat. Ale asi dva dny před 27. zářím 1950 jsem už byly (pozn. sestry) obklíčené. Sestřička šla na pole, ale už se musela vrátit a už jsme nesměly vycházet. V kapli nám přečetli, že jsem odtud odvolané, že dům není využívaný, jak by měl být. Tak jsem si šly sbalit naše osobní věci. Tehdy se také mluvilo o tom, že v Rusku vyvážejí řeholnice na Sibiř, tak jsme byly v takové nejistotě, co bude, zda budeme jen v naší zemi. Nastalo 27. září 1950, ještě o půlnoci jsme měly v kapli v Bojkovicích poslední mši svatou, pak už zůstal svatostánek prázdný. Nasedly jsem do autobusu a za dozoru jsme jelya jely. Už jsem byly v Čechách, začalo se stmívat a my jsme delší dobu čekaly v lese. Až se skoro setmělo, tak jsme jely dál, abychom do Bohosudova přijely už za tmy."

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I can do everything in Him who gives me strength

Emilie Slavomíra Měříčková
Emilie Slavomíra Měříčková
zdroj: dobové foto: archiv pamětnice, současné foto: Marie Mrvová

Emilie Slavomíra Měřičková was born on 17 November 1930 in Svatá Sidonie in the White Carpathians, as the youngest of three siblings. She trained as a ladies‘ and children‘s tailor at the Women‘s Vocational School in Bojkovice, which was operated by Dominican nuns. This experience led her to devote her life to Christ in their religious order. While the Communists rose to power in 1948, the witness entered the Dominican convent in Olomouc-Řepčín. In May 1950 she was sent to Bojkovice, where she cared for toddlers and orphans; on 27 September 1950 she witnessed the infamous night raid on Czechoslovak convents. The Communists forcibly evicted the nuns and deported them to the other end of the country, to Bohosudov. They were under constant surveillance in Bohosudov and were forced to work in the Vrchoslavy Screw Mill. In June 1951 she and other nuns were moved to Varnsdorf, where she had to work in a stockings factory. In February 1952 she was sent from Varnsdorf to Dolní Lánov; from there she commuted to the Texlen plant in Horní Staré Město near Trutnov and later to Maršov 4. After about six months the witness was transferred to Svobodov nad Úpou and then to Broumov, where she baked sacramental bread (hosts) for a year and a half. She was moved again from Broumov to Buchlovice, where she spent over twenty years as a nurse at a care home. In the meantime she completed a medical school in Uherské Hradiště. In January 1981 she was sent to Kadaň, where she witnessed an extensive house raid due to „illegal pamphlets“ and an alleged trove of gold in a bathtub. Sister Slavomíra was interrogated and led around courts for several years. In February 1987 she was sent back to Broumov and then to Valašské Meziříčí for six months. In November 1989 she attended the canonisation of Agnes of Bohemia in Rome. In August 1990 she and other nuns returned to Bojkovice to reopen the school for girls. In January 1993 she moved to Brno, where she and her fellow sisters would go pray the Morning Office (Lauds) at Radio Proglas. In 1992-2004 she served as the Superior General of the whole Czech Congregation of Dominican Sisters. In 2008 she moved to Prague.