In Defensum Castitatis
Young Slovaks make a pilgrimage for purity at the grave of Anna Kolesárová
This is a continuation of last week’s blog post for the Christendom Project regarding my visit to Lux television studios in Bratislavia and a filming trip to Eastern Slovakia.
After filming the Gypsy youths’ excellent musical on the Old Testament story of Judith we travelled further eastwards to the Zemplin region close to the Ukrainian border. We left the forested mountainous area for the fertile lower plain. Lux wanted to broadcast live the Mass for the pilgrimage in honour of Anna Kolesárová the World War II martyr.
We arrived at the village of Vysoka nad Uhom in time for a tasty lunch of goulash and local bread. Afterwards the crew set up and I was invited to make the short walking pilgrimage between the village of Vysoka nad Uhom, the place of Anna’s birth, and Pavlovce nad Uhom the village of her martyrdom. I had two young guides, a girl and a boy, both around 20, who explained in English the story of Anna.
When we reached the grave of the Martyr they translated the homily of the priest who encouraged the young people to make a pledge for purity. Boys were told to respect girls and not to make demands on them that are contrary to the teaching of Jesus and His Church.
Girls were encouraged to respect themselves, to dress modestly, and to save themselves for the man they marry and until their wedding night. If they had already been led astray they could rededicate themselves by taking a pledge that from now on they will wait. It was all very moving.
Anna Kolesárová a martyr in defensum castitatis
Anna Kolesárová was born on 14 July 1928 to a very devout farming family. When Anna was ten her mother died and she had to take over running the house for her older brother and father. Even at that very young age she was very devout and after completing her daily tasks she would go to Mass with her friends.
In the autumn of 1944 the Second World War arrived in Eastern Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Red Army were pushing the Nazi Army back out of Russia and the Ukraine. During the bloody battles the villagers would hide in cellars and wait for the fighting to end. Anna and her family were hiding with their neighbours in the cellar under the kitchen when the Soviet troops occupied her village. A drunken Soviet soldier came into the house and discovered their hideout. Anna was encouraged to give the soldier food and water. She and the other women wore drab black clothes to discourage attention during this dangerous time. Nevertheless the soldier made sexual advances to her but she refused; he continued to make advances to her and grabbed her, threatening to shoot her, but she pulled herself free and ran back to the cellar. The soldier followed her, cocked his automatic rifle, allowed her to say good bye to her father and emptied his gun into her. She died on the spot.
She was buried the next day in secret, despite the bloody battle that was going on around the village. The parish priest, Fr Anton Lucac, lived in the next village and could only conduct the funeral rites a week later. He conducted an investigation into the circumstances of her death, interviewed local people and gave testimony to the holiness of her life and death.
However, after the war Czechoslovakia was under the control of Soviet Russia and part of the Eastern block. The Communist government banned all mention of Anna and her death, and forbade people to gather at her grave. However, her memory has endured and today there are many youth pilgrimages made to her house in Vysoka nad Uhom and to her grave in Pavlovce nad Uhom. The cause for her beatification has gone to Rome.
Today young people go to her grave to take a pledge of purity. A Slovak priest, Pavol Hudak, has written a little manual on how young people can respect one another and remain chaste until they marry.
Young cameraman wears a pro-family La Manif Pour Tous
T-shirt before changing into usual production crew black
No problem banning ‘Gay’ marriage in Slovakia
He’s going to have a difficult time, with Western hedonistic lifestyles forever encroaching on the Slovak conscience. However, last June Slovak law-makers approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman. There has been very little reporting of this in the West; the only news our secular totalitarian media are interested in is ‘Gay’ advancement. Well done plucky Slovakia, a true Catholic Middle Earth; and thank you, Anna Kolesárová, for interceding on behalf of Slovak Catholics; I’m sure many prayers have been said to you on this matter.