Biography of Anastasia Selenkova (Sister Catherine de Ricci, OP)

Born into the family of an estate owner in Khriperovo, Rzhevsk district, Tver province, in 1893. She graduated from the Philological Department of Moscow State University and remained there to work as a specialist in Old Russian literature. She converted to Catholicism, and from 1915 was under police surveillance. She lived in Moscow; joined the Abrikosova community of Dominican Sisters and took the name Sr. Catherine da Ricci; she later guided a male group of Dominican novices in the Abrikosov community. November 14, 1923 – arrested in Moscow in a case against Russian Catholics. May 19, 1924 – sentenced under Article 61 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in prison [OGPU Collegium]. Sent to Orel Prison; in 1927, transferred to Suzdal Prison; in July 1930, to the Yaroslavl political isolator. Released in 1932, restricted from residing in the six largest cities and the borderland regions for a period of three years. She lived in Saratov and worked as an economist in a factory; from 1935 she was with her brother in Leningrad. On the night of October 2/3, 1935, she was again arrested. February 7, 1936 – sentenced to five years of corrective labor [Special Board, Directorate, NKVD, Leningrad oblast]. Sent to the Kotursk section of Karlag (Dolinskoye, Karaganda region), where she died during the war (exact date of death unknown). We present excerpts from the 1924 indictment: “Anastasia Vasilyevna Selenkova indicated that [Fr. Nicholay] Aleksandrov gave her his authorization to teach religion in the school. In response to the question, if she became aware of Abrikosova’s counter-revolutionary activity, would she find it necessary to disassociate herself from her – she stated that she would not under any circumstances find it necessary to disassociate herself from anyone with whom she was in spiritual communion.” Fr. Donat Nowicki later recalled: “Fr. Franciszek Andruszkiewicz told me of the significant role that Anastasia Vasilyevna played in his life, when he, having undergone extraordinarily severe GPU interrogation (22 days of uninterrupted interrogation), was psychologically out of his mind and could not recover for a long time. He also told of the deep spiritual influence she had on the political convicts in the Yaroslavl isolator.” Sources: Assumptionist Archive, Rome, 2ER.66, p. 1; GARF, f. 8409, op. 1, d. 306, l. 26-29; d. 395, l. 61; d. 1474, l. 25-29; Nowicki, pp. 8-9; Osipova (1996), p. 198; Osipova (1999), p. 338; Abrikosova et al. (1924); Sokolovskyi, p. 186; Shkarovskii, p. 282
Variant Names:
Selenkova, Anastasia; Sister Catherine de Ricci; Selenkova, Anastasii︠a︡ Vasil'evna (Ekaterina Richchi)
Rz︠h︡yshchiv (Ukraine); Moscow (Russia); Orel (Orlovskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Suzdalʹ (Russia); I︠A︡roslavlʹ (I︠A︡roslavskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Saratov (Russia); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Qaraghandy (Kazakhstan)
female; clergy and religious; died in prison