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Martyrs of communism: Blessed Olympia Bida

CWR: "How many people have died as a result of Communism? The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation makes the bold statement on the front page of their web site that 100 million human beings have been killed by Communism.

"But how can we measure such an immense loss? Who can fathom the joys, sorrows, and inherent worth of 100 million individual human lives? Only God can. That’s why the saints and blesseds of the Church who died under Communism can help us see not only the tragedy of an individual life cut short, but why someone would choose death rather than blindly follow the ideology of a form of government that not only denies the existence of God, but also denies human dignity...

"...In 1938, Olympia became the superior of her community in the town of Khyriv. She and her sisters cared for the sick and the elderly, taught young women about the faith, and quietly did what all religious sisters do: prayed to God and witnessed to the grace and beauty of a life lived solely for Him. Persecution of believers continued as control of the country changed from the Soviet Union, to Nazi Germany, and then back to the Soviet Union after World War II.

"In 1950, the NKVD (Soviet secret police) decided that Olympia was engaged in “anti-Soviet activities”; her only crime was probably that she was a Catholic and a leader of other Catholics. Olympia was sentenced to hard labor in Boryslav (Ukraine) and then lifelong exile in Russia. The almost subarctic conditions of the Tomsk region of Siberia, combined with the inhuman conditions of her prison camp, made life extremely harsh. Olympia served as the superior of the other sisters who had also been sentenced to the camp, she cared for those in need, and she led other prisoners in prayer."

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