Fr. Xavier and Fr. Sal are all smiles as they are greeted by Sister Augustina and learn that she is also coming to DePere to represent Doksany at the General Chapter in July!
Once again we were warmly welcomed with coffee and cake in the dining room of the convent, where Sister Augustina gave us an overview of the history of her congregation. It was a real lesson in the history of this area of the world as well, and how politics and war affected the status of religion and the orders during the communist regime and the years following.
In the background of the above photo you see Fr. Adrian from Strahov Abbey in Prague. He is the chaplain for the sisters at Doksany. There are only seven sisters there at this time, and most of the them live a cloistered life. They earn their income from sewing and embroidering beautiful liturgical garments, along with selling various products from their herb gardens. Other than Sister Augustina and one other younger nun who helped serve coffee when we arrived we didn’t see any of the other sisters.
The church adjacent to the convent survived intact because it was used as a parish church throughout that period, but the convent itself was neglected and deteriorated so the sisters are working to restore it as their finances allow.
Thanks to Ellen Mommaerts who figured out how to use the timer on her camera, we also got another great group photo including Sr. Augustina, Fr. Adrian and even our bus driver, Hans! We are pictured here beneath a gingko tree that has been growing on this site for more than 400 years already. It’s impossible to describe what this place looks like in just a few words so I made another gallery of snapshots. I hope it gives everyone a glimpse of just how old this community is and how wonderful it is to see it rebuilding today.