"My mum had a sister who was a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Initially, she was placed in Horažďovice until the sisters were forced to leave. She was interned in Varnsdorf where she worked in a stocking factory, and she stayed there until 1956. That year, the sisters were released from the factories and so auntie came to Osek near Duchcov. She took care of a group of mentaly ill girls there. She enabled me to come and visit her there - for a month, even. This is where I met the sisters for the first time, got to know their lives and there I got the initial idea to join my auntie one day. The decision is difficult to describe but I can compare it to two people. It is as if a boy meets a girl and suddenly feels she'd become the woman of his life. At that time, I was in a chapel and felt something similar: that my journey would be to belong to the Lord."
"The sisters were announced they had to cease their teaching activities. They knew it was coming - it wasn't completely sudden. They even had dates set until when they had to move out. It may have been a bit milder than with the male orders. So, Horažďovice for instance moved out in August. The sisters were telling it to us. There was also a so-called refuge - a place for sisters who fell ill. Eighty ambulances were transferring the sisters to Javorník, while the others took buses. Sisters were then moved to town houses in Javorník. Some went to Štemplovec where there was a chateau, some went to Zlaté Hory, the youngest were placed in factories in Varndorf or Lánov or elsewhere. This was the youngest generation, until thirty years of age. The middle aged went to Javorník and the eldest to Štemplovec and Vidnava."
"1968 was breakthrough year for all the orders because they were allowed to admit new members. The sisters who had to leave the community because they were not yet officially admitted as novices - and had thus spent eighteen years out of touch with the sisters - were able to return. Our sisters in Javorník had accepted these sisters who had to leave. They had their first garment ceremony there. They came in 1968 and in 1969 were dressed as novices. Then there was another group in 1970 and in 1971, there was another ban on admitting new nuns. I and my co-sister Vlasta Zadáková were still able to make it. I came in March and she in May 1971. Our Mother Superior Vlasta Ptáková dressed us up. It was already in secret, though. We couldn't have had a public ceremony in church anymore. The sisters who came in 1970 still could. In 1971, this was no longer possible. We've had it in secret in the chapel, knowing that we could not wear the white veil for two years, but would dress the same as the other sisters."
"As regards the number of sisters - there were about fifity of us in the house. We would wake up the same as today - at 4:40. We had thirty minutes to do our morning hygiene and at 5:15, the prayers started. Morning praises and contemplation. Then we attended a mass in the church. Then there was breakfast and at 7:45, work began. We worked in the former courthouse where there were workshops. We worked until 11:45, then there was lunch break and then from 12:45 till 4:45, we worked again. We were sewing and embroidering - depending on one's skills. Some sisters were very skilful, some were painters, others were able to embroider by hand. Most were sewing on machines. At 5 p.m., we've had the evening prayers, half an hour of contemplation, dinner and then common evenings. The day would come to a close at 8:30."
"We can compare it to an engament even though we only receive the ring during the 'eternal vow'. Engagement in practice means going through a trial period to verify and confirm that it really is a free decision, and that the calling is firm." - "Eternal vows - is that something like entering wedlock with Jesus Christ?" - "Absolutely. There is no way to terminate it unless by a dispensation from Rome."
"Our mission was ubringing and education. In the past, it was only focused on providing general education to poor girls. This was the task of our order from the very beginning - seen as useful by our founder. There was the same situation in France at that time where the School Sisters of Notre Dame were established. Initially, they focused on abandoned girls. In the past, only the boys had received education. The poor girls were taken care of in order to create good families, become good mothers, and to provide good character to the society."
"Two buses were dispatched. One departed from Bílá Voda, joined by some of our sisters from Javorník. The atmosphere was amazing." - "Have you yourself been there?" - "I haven't. I stayed home with several younger sisters while the others went. They then shared their experiences with us. But even us who stayed behind experienced it strongly. It was an amazing atmosphere of joy, we felt freedom ahead of us and also knew that we had an advocate who would now take care of our nation if we turned to her for help."
I was only able to join the monastic order in secret
Miroslava Miriam Baumruková was born on 10 June 1949 in Klatovy into a religious agricultural family. She grew up alongside her younger brother in the village of Střeziměř where her parents ran a large farm. In 1958, they were forced to join the communist-established agricultural cooperative. The children were brought up by their grandparents who were both strict and kind in following the Catholic faith. Miroslava studied a pedagogical school in Klatovy and then from 1967 till 1969 a follow-up to become a pharmacist technician. At that time, she decided to join the School Sisters of Notre Dame, whom she got to know thanks to her aunt Norberta Cihlářová who was a nun there. In 1971, when she was about to become a novice, the admission of new nuns was prohibited by law. She was therefore admitted by the Mother Superior in secret. Ever since 1971, she lived alongside the other nuns in Javorník. After 1989, the order regained its original house in Hradec Králové, where she moved in 1990.