“We arrived to Kroměříž and Sister Superior said: „I need to go to Bílá Voda. Who is going with me?“ Nobody wanted to so she pointed at me, that I should go. We went by train and all the road signs were aimed at Moscow. There were signs saying Moscow all over the place. At noon, everything stopped, car, trains…. All the sirens sounded, bells rang, cars stopped and honked. Our train halted as well, I don’t know for how long. And all that buzz was at twelve sharp as if per order. It was horrible, it was even more scary. It was a protest against them [the Warsaw Pact armies] having come. Then it stopped and we went on.”
“We joined the convent in 1950 and for ten years, nothing was going on. In 1961, we took our wows in secret. Mother Superior somehow got some sort of permission from someone in case we were caught but it was not entirely legal. We had the ceremony in the evening, quietly, nobody else was there, just us. It was in spring of 1961 or so, I do not remember it exactly.”
“Then I left for the convent. It was in 1950. They [the Communists] dissolved the religious communities shortly after, in spring. When I left my home after the New year, they were already disbanding them. I got a very stern letter fron the village council to return. The order responded that they had already involved me in hospital work, that I already work as a nurse and they cannot send me back. So I stayed but I was the last one who managed to get through the hoops. Later, they did not accept anyone, they were not allowed to.”
The oldest Vincentine sister in Czech Republic. She had to wait for ten years to take her solemn wows
Anežka Wilczeková, or Sister Leonie, was born on the 24th of September in 1924 to a Catholic family in Třanovice in the Těšín region. She was one of seven children. Her father was a shoemaker and the family owned a smallholding. She recalls life during the WWII when the Těšín area was a part of the German Reich and the inhabitants were under pressure of Germanisation. In 1950, Anežka joined the Company of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. At the very same time, the Communist régime was starting the disbandment of convents and religious orders. Along with several other sisters who served patients with long-term illnesses and the dying, she was not interned. She took her solemn wows in secret only ten years after finishing the novitiate. The order sent her to a secondary nursing school to Kroměříž, where she graduated. After the Vincentine sisters had to leave their seat in Kroměříž, she served, among others, in a centre for social care in Terezín near Litoměřice. For four years, she lived in Bílá Voda near Javorník where the Communists expelled sisters from various orders. After the fall of the Communist régime, she served as a housekeeper in the restituted provincial house in Kroměříž. In 2021, she lived in a retirement home in Frýdek-Místek where a small community of Vincentine sisters was active.