Pavla and the Two Thomas's

Pavla with Gloria August 2009Pavla with Gloria August 2009

Hello! My name is little sister Pavla.

I am just back to my country, the Czech Republic and to my job as a Carer for children with physical and mental disabilities in Prague, after spending a month in London Hackney with my Community there.

It was a very special month in every way! First of all it made me very happy to meet so many people from so many different countries living together and seeming to be happy in each other’s company! I saw that difference can be lived peacefully. I was made so welcome and felt so much friendliness. It made me ask myself: ‘Will the Kingdom of God be like this?!’

Entry to Canterbury CathedralEntry to Canterbury Cathedral

I would like to share with you a part of my story and why this visit to London was so important for me.

Before 1989 it was not possible to live openly as a little sister of Jesus in my country. One day I was at a secret gathering of Christians and heard the story of St Thomas Becket who in 1162 was made Archbishop of Canterbury. Because of his stand against the King Henry II he was murdered at the Cathedral which then became a great place of prayer and pilgrimage.

Praying at the place of Martyrdom of Thomas BecketPraying at the place of Martyrdom of Thomas Becket

I was very inspired by this story of how someone can change from enjoying a worldly life in the court with the King to choosing to stand up for his faith and live for God. I will never forget this little film in Prague about Thomas. I had been struck very forcefully by how saying ‘No’ to the King and ‘Yes’ to God meant a whole change of life. I saw it as the summit for fullness of life and love. It was the quality of this love that impressed me. I was 23 yeas old and I felt called like Thomas to stand up for what I believed here in my own country where I was not free to practice my Catholic faith openly. This choice led me to decide to live for God alone and to join the Little sisters.

Thomas More's remains at St Dunstan's Church CanterburyThomas More's remains at St Dunstan's Church Canterbury

I also read the story of another Thomas, Thomas More, who was beheaded on the 6th July 1635 for refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy of King Henry VIII. On the scaffold he declared that he was the King’s good servant but God’s first…This saint too inspired me to give first place to God in my life and not to compromise.

Canterbury Cathedral, in Memory of Brother CharlesCanterbury Cathedral, in Memory of Brother Charles

When visiting Canterbury Cathedral I was so happy to discover Brother Charles in the book of modern day Martyrs. It was like a recognition that the hidden Nazareth life of followers of Brother Charles in so many places of division and suffering throughout the world is a continuation of his total gift and that they are remembered and prayed for in this holy place.

Canterbury Cathedral, Remembering the suffering ChurchCanterbury Cathedral, Remembering the suffering Church

How important it is that all visitors are requested to pray for those who suffer persecution and torture on account of their faith. This has been the story of my country and I feel called to join in the prayer of supplication of Christians everywhere to pray for peace and true freedom in Christ. My pilgrimage to Canterbury showed me I was not alone.