When one of the soldiers tried to drive the sister out of the room by force, she successfully resisted, clinging to the cross and calling on Mary for help: “Holy Mother of God, allow me to die a virgin, protect my purity!”
On March 1, 1945, when the sisters were praying and Sister Maria Sabina was repeating her request to Mary, a bullet pierced the door and struck her in the chest, killing her. She was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Lubań.
Blessed Sister Maria Melusja (Marta) Rybka was born on July 11, 1905, in Pawłow, near Racibórz. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in 1927 and made her perpetual vows on July 31, 1934. She spent her life as a nun at St. George’s House in Nysa, working in the garden and bakery, and doing household jobs. During the Second World War, she nursed the elderly and sick and looked after the girls from the housekeeping school.
On March 24, 1945, Sister Maria Melusja was attacked and shot by a Red Army soldier while defending a girl who was being assaulted. According to witnesses, the sister saved the house from being burnt down, as the fire set by the soldiers stopped in the front of the room where the sister’s body lay in a pool of blood.
The sister’s body is buried in a mass grave in the sisters’ garden at 16 Słowiańska Street in Nysa.
Blessed Sister Maria Sapientia (Łucja) Heymann was born on April 19, 1875, in Lubiesz, near Wałcz in northwestern Poland. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in 1894 and made her perpetual profession on July 2, 1906. She worked as a nurse in Hamburg and then in Nysa.
When the Red Army entered Nysa, the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty increased. On March 24, 1945, soldiers ordered the sisters from St. Elizabeth’s House to gather in the refectory. One of the soldiers went up to a young sister and wanted to take her away. Blessed Maria Sapientia implored him to give up, saying: “No, I beg you, no.” The soldier put his weapon up to her temple and fired.
Her mortal remains were buried in a common grave in the monastery garden at the House of St. Elizabeth in Nysa.
Blessed Sister Maria Acutina (Helena) Goldberg was born on July 6, 1882, in Dłużek, then in East Prussia. At the age of 23, she joined the Sisters of St. Elizabeth and made her perpetual vows on July 25, 1917.
For many years, she worked as a nurse at a hot springs sanatorium in Wleń and a house for retired priests in Nysa. From 1941, she worked in an orphanage in Lubiąż as a guardian of war orphans.
Aware of the brutality of the Red Army soldiers who entered the city on Jan. 26, 1945, Sister Maria Acutina was continually on watch for the safety of the girls entrusted to her. On May 2, 1945, she was shot while defending them.
Sister Maria Acutina’s body was buried in the parish cemetery in Krzydlina Mała, southwestern Poland.
Blessed Sister Maria Adela (Klara) Schramm was born on June 3, 1885, in Łączna near Kłodzko, southwestern Poland.
In 1912, she joined the Sisters of St. Elizabeth and made her perpetual vows on June 29, 1924. She worked in Ramułtowice, Szklarska Poręba, Wałbrzych-Sobięcin, and Godzieszów, where she was the superior of local communities.
As the Red Army was approaching, Sister Maria Adela decided to remain and take care of the elderly women in her charge. After the Red Army soldiers took the village, she and her charges found a shelter at the farm of Maria and Paul Baum.
On Feb. 25, 1945, a soldier broke into the house. Blessed Maria Adela, defending her charges and her chastity vowed to God, was shot, together with her hosts and other people staying there. All of them were buried in Godzieszów, southwestern Poland, on the farmer’s property in a bomb crater, where later a plaque was erected to commemorate their death.
Another victim of the Soviet troops’ brutality was Blessed Sister Maria Adelheidis (Jadwiga) Töpfer, who was shot on March 24, 1945.
She was born in Nysa on Aug. 26, 1887. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in 1907 and made her perpetual profession on July 28, 1919.
She had great pedagogical skills, and for many years she was a teacher and headmistress of a housekeeping and handicraft school in Koźle, and from 1942 at St. George’s boarding school in Nysa.
In 1943, she was transferred to St. Notburga’s House in Nysa. During the Soviet occupation of the city, the sick and the elderly sought refuge with the sisters. Sister Maria Adelheidis remained with them. Despite extremely difficult living conditions, she always found a place for and offered help to those in need. She was the soul of the house.
As soldiers were roaming the building, a Red Army man entered the room where the sister and her charges were staying. Provocatively, he showed his bleeding hand and asked who had been shooting from the room. Although everyone truthfully denied it, he shot Sister Maria Adelheidis. Her body was laid to rest in the Jerusalem Cemetery in Nysa.
Blessed Sister Maria Felicitas (Anna Ellmerer) was shot in Nysa, on March 25, 1945.
She was born on May 12, 1888, in Grafing, near Munich. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth, making her perpetual profession on July 5, 1923, working as a teacher and tutor in Dusseldorf, Kup, and Nysa.
The Soviet soldiers stationed in St. Elizabeth’s House constantly bothered the sisters, who experienced days of fear and terror. The superior of the house pleaded with them to leave the sisters alone. In response, she was struck with the butt of a rifle and lost consciousness. Sister Maria Felicitas rushed to her aid. A soldier took advantage of this and tried to lead her outside. As the sister defended herself and resisted, he fired a warning shot.
In response, Sister Maria Felicitas stood against the wall, stretched out her hands in the shape of a cross, and cried out loudly: “Long live Christ the K…!” The last word was interrupted by a fatal bullet. The killer trampled on his victim’s head and chest with his heavy boots.
The sister’s mortal remains are buried in the monastery garden at 16 Słowiańska Street in Nysa.
A prayer for the necessary graces through the intercession of Blessed M. Paschalis and Nine Companions:
Lord Jesus Christ Crucified and Risen,
You strengthened Blessed Maria Paschalis and her Companions
to sacrifice their lives.
By defending the dignity and chastity of a woman
as well as performing acts of mercy,
they kept faithful to you
to the shedding of blood.
May the example of their lives encourage us
to a generous service to our brethren
and to zealous fulfillment of Your commandments.
Through their intercession, grant us the favors
which we ask of You with trust,
you who live and reign forever and ever.
Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…
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