USCCB News Release
August 7, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sisters living under European communism post-World War II focus of documentary
Tells of nuns exiled to Siberia, forced labor, prisons
Interviews ‘Secret Sisters’ who joined orders during the oppression
Interrupted Lives, Story of Nun Heroes, Distributed to ABC TV
WASHINGTON—Some were nurses. Many were educators. Still others cared for orphans, the elderly, the mentally ill. But all were women religious enduring the communist regime in Eastern Europe after World War II.
Their story is told in “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism,” a one-hour documentary distributed on Sunday, September 13 to ABC-TV stations and affiliates (Check local listings. Scheduling is at the discretion of the local station.)
Interrupted Lives explores the experiences of Greek and Roman Catholic Sisters of Eastern and Central Europe sisters who at the end of World War II were trapped under Soviet domination as Josef Stalin seized control.
Until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many of these religious women endured imprisonment, exile to Siberia, forced farm and factory labor, deportation, seizure of their schools and hospitals and expulsion from their convents. Also included are interviews with “secret sisters” who joined religious life during this Communist period and lived out their vocations in the underground. “We are inspired and strengthened by the faith and commitment of these sisters who endured over forty years of oppression under communism,” says Sister of St. Joseph Margaret Nacke, one of the executive producers of the documentary.
Filmed on location in Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and the United States, Interrupted Lives documents their stories and takes viewers to the apartment buildings, prisons, concentration convents, and seized properties where Communism intersected with the sisters’ lives.
Interviews with Eastern European scholars as well as sisters offer a powerful testimony to the faith, courage and endurance of these religious women. Their own stories raise awareness of those who still today undergo persecution for political or religious beliefs.
Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism is part of the Vision & Values series created by the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission. Members include the National Council of Churches of Christ, the Islamic Society of North America, a consortium of national Jewish organizations, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The program was produced by NewGroup Media, South Bend, Indiana, with Sister of St. Joseph Mary Savoie and Sister Nacke, as executive producers.
The program was funded in part by the USCCB’s Catholic Communication Campaign and Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Catholic Communication Campaign is an activity of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that develops media programming, projects and resources to promote Gospel values. Donations of Catholic parishioners make possible the work of the CCC.
To order DVDs, call 1-800-235-USCC (8722). More information is available at www.usccb.org/ccc/projects.shtml.
Keywords: Sisters, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Eastern Europe, Catholic Communication Campaign, Interrupted Lives, World War II