Biography of Alexandra Balasheva (Sister Catherine of Siena, OP)

Born in 1878 in Barnaul. Completed courses at the women’s high school and then worked as an instructor. She resided in Moscow; converted to Catholicism and joined the community of Dominican Sisters led by Anna Ivanovna Abrikosova. She took the name Catherine of Siena in religious life. In 1920 she worked at an institute and gave private music lessons. November 13, 1923, she was arrested with a group of Russian Catholics. May 19, 1924, she was released from custody so that she could care for the ailing Sr. Catherine Galkina. Until 1927 she was engaged in sending money and packages to the sisters of the Abrikosova community who had been sent to the Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp and Siberia. She was arrested in July 1927. September 2, 1927, at age 49, she was sentenced under Article 58-5 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three years in the corrective labor camps [OGPU Collegium]. She was sent to the Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp. October 28, 1928, her sentence was reduced to a year, at the end of which she was released from the camp. She returned to Moscow, where, at the beginning of 1929, she was again arrested, this time charged with the “organization of assistance to Fr. Leonid Feodorov, the exiled exarch of Russian Catholics.” July 12, 1929, she was sentenced to three years’ exile in Siberia. She was sent to the village of Kargasok, Tomsk region, Narym region, from where she was released February 7, 1933, but forbidden from living in the twelve major cities, the Urals or the borderlands [Special Troika, OGPU Collegium, Western Siberian krae]. Before the end of her exile, wishing to return to the community of Dominican Sisters, she sent her belongings to the sisters in Maloyaroslavets, but the sister superior sent them back. She remained in Siberia. In March 1936 she was in the village of Svetolobovo, in Krasnoyarsk region. In 1939, at age 61, she was freed from exile and wanted to join the sisters of the Abrikosova community who were living in Maloyaroslavets, but the sister superior refused to accept her. Her fate thereafter is unknown. Source: Assumptionist Archives, Rome, 2ER.66, p. 1; Main Information Center [GITs], Ministry of Internal Affairs, Russian Federation; GARF, f. 8409, op. 1, d. 250, l. 31-35; d. 341, l. 1-3, 19; d. 819, l. 6-7; Osipova (1996), p. 148; Osipova (1999), pp. 324-325; Abrikosova et al. (1924)
Variant Names:
Balasheva, Aleksandra Vasil'evna (Ekaterina); Balasheva, Alexandra; Sister Catherine of Siena, OP
Barnaul (Altaĭskiĭ kraĭ, Russia); Moscow (Russia); Siberia (Russia); Tomsk (Russia); Krasnoi︠a︡rskiĭ okrug (Russia)
female; clergy and religious; fate unknown