Helena Bystřická

* 1958

  • "We didn't have a Bible at home, it couldn't be bought anywhere. Only then, in the 1980s, did the possibility arise. Children's cartoon Bibles were smuggled out of Yugoslavia. And I got to it somehow, so I ordered the children's Bible here, which had the Old and the New Testament. But that's edited, for kids. Everything is there in brief. But we didn't have a classic Bible. But we had the catechism of Mr. Cardinal Tomasek, it was published maybe in 1968 or 1969, at the time of the release. But otherwise, there was no literature. What was important at that time was that people could go to church after all. And if you listen to what has been read in church for years, you get an overview, the whole gospel. It was very important in the time of totality that at least this possibility was there. Moreover, as I was alone in that church and we were walking there, one had a lot of time to think - what one heard there, what it was about. So, as hard as that time was on the one hand, those were basically also beautiful years. One realized how beautiful life is offered to us, regardless. And if someone is destroying it, then anyway in the end - just like in the 1985 - I realized that the communists, I really said to myself in my mind: 'I feel sorry for you, but sorry. You won't destroy that,' as I was leaving that pilgrimage."

  • "The chronicle was written in the style that - I don't know what the practice is now - that he wrote a draft, perhaps for a certain year, and that draft was submitted for approval. And only then was the chronicle rewritten cleanly. The chronicle was written by hand, the pages numbered, which means that papers cannot be torn from the chronicle, that is not possible. And in 1968, I don't know how it happened that he described the events as they happened in the village - right into that chronicle. And then in a year or two, when the communists somehow recovered from all this, they gave all the chroniclers in the district some kind of censure about what should be written in that chronicle. So, in the end it turned out that the 68th year is crossed out in the chronicle, then there is written: correction of the chronicle. And there is written what the chroniclers in the district office received, what is supposed to be written there about the 68th year. So, in those chronicles, as you are not allowed to tear the pages, it is simply the way it happened, the twenty-first of August. The way he described it is captured in that chronicle.''

  • "He said that there were several hundred of those bombers. That alone caused such a huge panic that most people were trampled to death after the raid. Not only those injured by the air attack, when people tried to flee to shelters. He always remembered the feeling itself. And he remembered that once it happened, that at lunchtime there was - either it was an undeclared alarm or a delayed one - they mistook the factory for a camp and bombed that camp. At lunchtime when there were a lot of young people. He said that one friend they went looking for, when they were taking the wounded and dead to a nearby forest - it was July and it was terribly hot - that's how they found their friend. He was lying there holding a bloody handkerchief over his head, so they must have taken him away alive, but then he died there. So, at lunch time they bombed that camp and he said there were about 250 dead young people. Those were the years of birth 1920 to 1924 or so. That was a huge massacre when during that funeral, before they could put people in some coffins, there was a huge smell from it all."

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    Velehrad, 14.07.2022

    duration: 03:07:12
    media recorded in project Stories of the region - Central Moravia
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I had no idea that it was possible to join the religious order even in the time of totalitarianism

Sister Ludmila in 2022
Sister Ludmila in 2022
photo: Post Bellum

Helena Bystřická, religiously named Sister Ludmila, was born on July 22, 1958 in Kyjov. Her grandfather František Vaďura fought in the First World War, during the First Republic he bought a farm in Žádovice in Hodonín area, which the family lost after the start of communism. The grandfather´s son Josef Vaďura was then sentenced in 1951 in a Kangaroo court for high treason to 11 years in prison. Helena Bystřická grew up with her siblings and parents – Marie and Josef – in Žádovice. Her father Josef Bystřický was fully deployed in Graz from 1942, after the war he worked as a teacher in neighboring Ježov. After elementary school, the witness joined a textile factory in Svatobořice-Mistřín, where she stayed for the next 13 years. In 1887, she moved to Velehrad, took care of disabled children in Stojanov, and began to live the community life of nuns. Two years later, she secretly entered the order, took her first vows and became a part of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Cyril and Methodius. After the Velvet Revolution, she completed her education at the theological faculty in Olomouc. In 2022, she continued to be involved in the congregation, working in a charity home for nuns in Velehrad and teaching religion.