History of our Community
The beginnings of our community go back to the early
1980's. At that time, Czechoslovakia was still under the
totalitarian communist regime, during which churches were
persecuted, religious communities were forced to go more or less
underground or at least their activities were greatly restricted.There
was only one community of Dominican nuns in our country, which
was living in a ‘Charity’ house in a small village, Moravec.
(This community was later transformed into what is now the
monastery of Dominican nuns in Znojmo.) They were constantly
watched by the communist secret police (StB) and were not
allowed to receive new candidates, so we can say that the
community was destined to die out together with many other
religious communities in the country at that time. However, it
happened that, at that very time, a Dominican father, Fra Jiljí
Dubský, was appointed as parish priest of St Giles’ church in
Prague. He gathered around him a group of young people attracted
by the Dominican spirituality. Some of these boys and girls
decided to join the Dominican Order in secret, others became lay
Dominicans (so-called Tertiaries), while yet other girls made
contact with active Dominican Sisters and Dominican secular
Among those who wished to fulfil St Dominic's ideal, there were
a few young girls who longed for the contemplative way of life.
It was virtually impossible for them to join the only
existing community of nuns at Moravec so, acting on the advice
of the Czechoslovac Dominican provincial, Fra Dominik Duka,
they tried to establish a new community which would combine
Dominican contemplative life with the conditions of life under
the communist regime of the time.
The sisters lived
separately at first; later
some of them lived together in a small house in the Spořilov
district in Prague. They went out to work, some of them studied,
and they wore civilian clothes. All of them carefully concealed
the fact that they belonged to the Dominican Order. They met
together in secret for common prayer, they studied together with
other members of the Dominican Order and tried, as much as
possible, to live the Dominican contemplative way of life. Their
spiritual counsellor was Fra František Švercl OP from Jablonné v
Podještědí. Our community owes him a great deal In
February 1987, our community was approved verbally by Fra Damian
Byrne, Master General of the Order.
In 1989, the year of the Velvet Revolution, four sisters
(including two novices) were living in the house in Spořilov,
and a few other women interested in our
way of life visited the community regularly. At the beginning of
1990, the Dominican Fathers recovered part of their St Giles
priory in Prague, so they handed over to the Sisters the house
in the Lysolaje district in Prague, where the Brothers had been
living during the period of communism.
During the communist regime, the Sisters had been living under a
special statute adapted to the illegal conditions of their life.
This statute opened the way for each Sister to decide at some
future date either to become a traditional Dominican nun or to
continue in creating a new and more open form of Dominican
contemplative life after the fall of communism. Therefore, at
the beginning of 1991, our community divided into two, and the
Sisters who wanted to live a different way of Dominican
spirituality moved to another house. The Lysolaje community
could now gradually become a classical monastery of Dominican
A significant step in this direction was taken in 1992 when the
community elected Sr Zdislava Szymczyńska from the Polish
Dominican monastery of St Anna as prioress. Sr Zdislava’s
election was confirmed by the Sacred Congregation for Religious.
The same Congregation formally approved our community as a
monastery of Dominican nuns in the summer of 1993.
New candidates came. Some of them left after some time and
others decided to stay. The Lysolaje house soon became too small for the young
community. In addition, people from the neighbourhood began to
come to services so that our small chapel became too small for
the needs of the growing community. Therefore, in 1994, work
began on extending the house, which is now approximately twice
its original size, the additions including a new refectory and a
larger chapel. The work took about a year and in May 1995 the
new chapel and the whole monastery were officially blessed by
the apostolic nuncio, Bishop Giovanni Coppa.
As the years went by, the life of our community – originally
affected by the circumstances of the time – has come steadily
closer to the regular life of
Dominican nuns. Contact with other monasteries of Dominican nuns
has also been a great help for our Sisters. The nuns from these
monasteries have shared their experiences with us, and enabled
us to grow deeper into the traditions of the Order. In 2003, we
celebrated happily, together with all these who had helped and
supported us for all those years, the tenth anniversary of the
approval of our monastery of Dominican nuns in Prague –
In March 2020, our dear sister Josefa left this world.The Lord called her after 30 years of religious life at the age of 50 after a long serious illness. Until the last moment, she maintained her joy and love for God, her fellow sisters and loved ones and, all with whom she was in contact.
We hope that at her intercession other young women and girls will hear the Lord's call to the Dominican contemplative life.
Currently, the community has 6 sisters. The next step
on its way should be the construction of a new monastery, fully suitable for the contemplative way of life, for which we have been trying for a long time to obtain a suitable plot of land.
includes some photos illustrating the history of