- Zdenka Schelingová
One of ten children born to Pavol Schelingová and Zuzana Pániková. She received her basic education locally, and later studied nursing and radiology. Known as a pious child, she early felt a call to religious life. At age 15 she requested entry to the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Holy Cross, and made her first vows on 30 January 1937, taking the name Zdenka.
Nurse at a hospital in Humenné and then in Bratislava where she worked in radiology. While she was assigned to Bratislava, the Communists seized power and began a systematic persecution of the Church and its members. Many were arrested and tortured for their faith, and some of these were brought to Zdenka’s hospital for treatment. In early 1952 Zdenka helped a condemned priest escape from certain death in Siberia. On 29 February 1952 she tried to help three priests and three seminarians escape, but she failed, and was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to twelve years in prison and ten years of loss of civil rights.
For the next three years she was shipped from prison to prison, regularly beaten and tortured; some of her wounds were never permitted to heal. She was released from prison on 16 April 1955, nine years early, so that she would not die on the government’s hands. Due to police harassment, she was turned away from her congregation’s motherhouse, and from the hospital where she used to work. She died a few months later, her health broken by the abuse, but ever loyal to her faith.
I want to do God’s will without paying attention to myself, my comfort or my rest. – Sister Zdenka
Yes, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” We admire – overwhelmed and gratified – the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge! O Crux, ave spes unica! Certainly, it was meditation on this great and wonderful mystery that sustained Blessed Bishop Vasil’ Hopko and Blessed Sister Zdenka Schelingová in their choice of the consecrated life and especially in the sufferings endured during their terrible imprisonment. Both shine before us as radiant examples of faithfulness in times of harsh and ruthless religious persecution. Bishop Vasil’ never repudiated his attachment to the Catholic Church and to the Pope. Sister Zdenka did not hesitate to risk her life so as to assist God’s ministers. Both faced up to an unjust trial and an ignoble condemnation, to torture, humiliation, solitude, death. And so the Cross became for them the way that led them to life, a source of fortitude and hope, a proof of love for God and man. O Crux, ave spes unica! – Pope John Paul II
- “Blessed Cecilia Schelingová“. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 October 2016. Web. 19 February 2017. <>