Jonathan Luxmoore is a freelance writer covering church news from Oxford, England, and Warsaw, Poland, and serving as a staff commentator for Polish Radio. He studied modern history at the University of Oxford and international relations at the London School of Economics and was a co-founder of the Polish chapter of Transparency International, the world's largest anti-corruption nongovernmental organization. His coverage of religious affairs during the transition to democracy in Eastern Europe won five Catholic Press Association awards, and his books include The Vatican and the Red Flag (London/New York, 1999), Rethinking Christendom: Europe's Struggle for Christianity (Leominster, 2005) and a two-volume study of communist-era martyrdom, The God of the Gulag (Gracewing, 2016).
When Polish rap artists launched "Hot16Challenge" in late April to raise funds for medical staff tackling the coronavirus, they did not expect their country's religious sisters would get in on the act.
Three decades after the felling of the Berlin Wall, many now hope that women religious earn proper recognition for their bravery amid the brutality they endured under communist rule in Eastern Europe.
According to an Oct. 11 report from the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, children suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of nuns, priests and staffers at orphanages run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. The abuse took place over decades, resulting in frequent deaths.
A convent of Capuchins in Poland took up boxing to raise money for their orphanage. "We'd like to stress no one was knocked out or injured," explained Sr. Cecylia Pytka, local superior of the Capuchin Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Siennica.