Beatification candidates III: Diocese of Brno

15. 08. 2008
In the third article on canonization candidates from our country we present four people from the Diocese of Brno. They all had to face totalitarian regimes of their times: Sister Marie Restituta Kafkova, executed 1943 in Vienna, Mother Vojtecha Hasmandova, imprisoned in 1950's by the communist regime, Father Jan Bula, executed 1952, and Father Tomas Maria Tyn, who offered himself as a sacrifice for liberating Czechoslovakia from Communism.

Brno: Blessed Sister Marie Restituta Kafkova (1894-1943) was born in Brno, but when she was two, her family moved to Vienna and she spent there all her life. In 1914 she entered the Third Franciscan order and started to serve as a nurse, since 1919 in the Lainz hospital in Vienna. After the 1938 annexation of Austria into the German Reich by the Nazi regime, the Catholic Church was oppressed. Sister Restituta was arrested in February 1942, charged with copying a leaflet mocking Hitler and on Mar 30, 1943, decapitated. She is the only religious sister condemned by Nazis to death in a trial, and the first woman martyr of the Archdiocese of Vienna. Her beatification procedure had been running from 1988 and on Jun 21, 1998, she was beatified in Vienna. Liturgical memorial of Sister Mary Restituta is held on Oct 29, both in dioceses of Brno and Vienna.


Second religious is Mother Vojtecha Hasmandova (1914-1988), born Antonie Hasmandova from Hustenovice in Southern Moravia. She started to study in a school run by sisters of St Charles Borromeo when she was 13 and in 1933 she entered the congregation, accepting the name Marie Vojtecha. During the World War II, she worked as a teacher and a nurse, since 1945 she was a headmistress in Brno. In 1950 she was appointed superior of a congregation's convent in Prachatice, Southern Bohemia. Two years later she was arrested because she had been hiding a priest – fugitive after all monasteries had been closed. Released in 1960, she served in a charity house for 10 years. In July 1970 she was elected the general superior of the congregation and remained at the office for 18 years, until her death on Jan 21, 1988. The procedure, opened in 1996, was closed in 2004 and the documents were sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.


The only beatification procedure run by the Diocese of Brno authorities is that of Father Jan Bula (1920-1952). He was born in Lukov, in the south-west of Moravia, and studied theology in Brno. Ordained priest in 1945 he was appointed parochial vicar in Rokytnice nad Rokytnou near his native village. After the death of the pastor, Bula was appointed parish administrator. In February 1951, he was contacted by his school-mate Ladislav Maly who claimed himself to be an agent of the US intelligence. He entrusted Bula to prepare secret transition of Prague Archbishop Josef Beran abroad. Being warned by another priest, Bula refused to cooperate with Maly and on Apr 30 he was arrested. Two month later, Jul 2, three members of the people's committee in nearby village Babice were shot dead. This action, claimed to be done by "imperialist agents and their helpers," was prepared by the communist regime to terrify people and the Church and to make local farmers to enter collectivized farms. Up to a hundred people from the region were arrested, 11 executed – among them 3 priests including Jan Bula, who couldn't be involved in the matter. He was hanged on May 20, 1952. When his cause was opened again in 1990, he was found not guilty and rehabilitated. Bishop Vojtech Cikrle of Brno solemnly opened the diocesan beatification procedure of Jan Bula in 2004.


The youngest of the candidates is Dominican priest Tomas Maria Tyn (1950-1990). He was born in Brno and in 1966 he was sent to study at a grammar school in Dijon, France. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia on Aug 21, 1968, his parents left the country and moved to Germany. Tomas Tyn entered the Dominican order in September 1969 and studied in Walberberg, Bologna and Rome, where he was ordained priest on Jun 29, 1975 by Pope Paul VI. On that day he also offered himself as a sacrifice for the liberation on the Czech Church. He then taught Theology and Philosophy in Bologna and served in pastoral care. In October 1989 he was struck by an intense pain and diagnosed cancer in stomach. His parents – both physicians – had him moved to Germany where Tomas Tyn, despite his pain, went on writing his theological-philosophical book on substance. He died on Jan 1, 1990, just six weeks after the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. His beatification procedure was opened on Feb 25, 2006 in Bologna.