Secret Sisters: Women Religious under European Communism Collection at the Catholic Theological Union

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Vincent P. Tinerella


After the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, Pope John Paul II asked Catholics around the world to assist members of the Church who had suffered under the yoke of communist oppression as a result of their commitment to Catholicism. Sr. Margaret Savoie, and Sr. Margaret Nacke, Sisters of St. Joseph, Concordia, Kansas, decided that the experiences of Catholic women in religious communities – “surviving sisters” – was an important story that needed to be documented, preserved, and made available for future generations and researchers. In 2003, Sisters Mary and Margaret began their research, recording the plight of Catholic sisters in eight countries, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and the Ukraine, from the rise of Stalin until the collapse of European communism. Over 200 testimonials now reside at the Paul Bechtold Library at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago under the auspices of the library’s archivist, Dr. Kenneth O’Malley, C.P. , and their work has been made into a national and award-winning documentary film.

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Author Biography

Vincent P. Tinerella, Arkansas Tech University

Head of Public Services Arkansas Tech University; Adjunct Associate Professor, UMUC......M.A. DePaul University; M.L.I.S, Dominican University