Nestled high in the Carpathian hills near Michalovce, at the easternmost outpost of Slovakia,
is a church and mission of the Eastern Rite Redemptorists. There countless refugees from Soviet Russia, have found sanctuary.
Priests of their qwn community and other Oriental Rites have been among the fugitives who have been provided with food, clothing and temporary shelter at the Michalovce monastery. But the Redemptorists are reticent about discussing any aid they have given to priest-fugitives from the Soviets.
Invariably, such refugees are listed among " escaped criminals " and sooner or later )1sI.K.V.D, agents (secret police) come along trying to track theM down. At these times, the Redemptorists and other members of the mission staff arc gifted with very weak memories.
A DISPUTED AREA •
Before the war, the Carpathian Ukraine. with its capital, Mukacevo — or Munkacs — was part of the Czechoslovakian republic. and earlier still it was a part of the Hungarian kingdom. After World War 11, Soviet Russia laid claim to the territory, and Czechoslovakia did not dispute the claim of her powerful neighbour.
So just a few miles eastward from Michalovcc runs the frontierof the U.S.S.R. It waS the " will of the people " which brought the people of the Carpathian Ukraine into the Soviet realm, according to Soviet propaganda, but the " will of the people " was manifested in a very strange way. The story goes that Soviet agents circulated among them, especially in the rural districts, and asked: " Do you want a cow, or horse?" Naturally. the answer was yes. So the peasants were given a paper to sign.
Later the Soviet agents' appeared with sheet after sheet full of signatures, and the people learned to their sorrow that what they had signed
was not a request for a horse, but a petition to join the Soviet Union. '
Since the Soviets established their rule in the Carpathian Ukraine. there has been a steady, Westward stream of refugees over the mountain passes toward Slovakia. Raggedly clad, half-starved, they manage to get across the frontier, although it is well guardedby soldiers and runs across high mountain peaks which makes passage extremely dangerous, especially in winter.
The nearest community for the refugees, once they have left the Soviet " paradise " behind them, 4s Michalovce where the tall, slender steeples.of the Redemptorist Monastery stand out like a beacon light. The Redemptorists have heard hundreds of touching stories from the refugees, but they keep these tales to themselves.
While listening to the stories, they supply the unfortunates with food, clothing and spiritual solace before sending them on their way into the western world.
Polish Papers Did Not Mention Cardinal's Appeal To Return Home
The Polish Catholic weeklies have not mentioned Cardinal Sapieha's appeal to the Polish exiles to return to their country, published in the Catholic Press here. It is still not clear in what form the Cardinal made this appeal. and whether his remarks were correctly translated into foreign languages.
Other news of the affairs between Church and State in Poland is that Mr. Cyrankiewicz, Premier of the Warsaw Government, received, on March 14, Bishop Choromanski, secretary of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate. A few days later he received theso-called Catholic Social Club, who got three seats in a parliament of 444. No explanations were given of these visits.