Biography of Nina Vasileni-Pozharskaya (Sister Rosa Maria, OP)

Born into a peasant family in 1891 in the village of Matushi, Porozovsk county, Grodno province. Educated at home. Lived in Moscow, worked as a dressmaker. Converted to Catholicism and joined the Abrikosova community of Dominican Sisters, where she took the name Sr. Rosa Maria. March 8, 1924, she was arrested in Moscow along with a group of Russian Catholics. She was charged under Article 68 of the Criminal Code of the RSRSR. April 24, 1924, she was presented with the indictment, in which the investigator recommended five years’ exile to Siberia or Kazakhstan. May 18, 1924, sentenced under Article 68 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three years’ exile in Siberia [OGPU Collegium]. She was exiled to a village outside Tobolsk, where she earned a living as a seamstress. May 9, 1927, she was released but restricted from living in the six major cities or the borderland regions for a period of three years. She lived in Romny, Poltava district, where, on October 16, 1930, she was again arrested. She was accused of “converting Orthodox to Catholicism, arousing an atmosphere of Polish nationalism, the collection of donations for the support of exiled priests and systematic counter-revolutionary agitation in the village with the goal of undermining the economic power of the USSR.” September 28, 1931, sentenced under Article 58-10, part 2, of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three years in the corrective labor camps [Special Board, GPU Collegium, UkrSSR]. Sent to Siblag (a camp outside Novosibirsk), where she worked in a brick factory, and then later as a dishwasher in a dining hall. In September 1932 she was released early from the camp, but restricted from living in the three capital cities and the borderland regions. She settled in Orel – for a long time she was unable to find work and nearly starved to death, but she found work doing embroidery in the shop “Rospistkan.” April 29, 1933, she was drawn into the investigation of a group of Russian Catholics. February 19, 1934, sentenced under Articles 58-10 and 58-11 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three years in the corrective labor camps [Special Board, OGPU Collegium], but in the summer she was released early from prison. She returned to Orel. In 1935 she was again arrested on charges of “connections with international bourgeoisie.” In the spring of 1936 she was sentenced to three years in the corrective labor camps. She was sent to Karlag (village of Dolinsk, Karaganda region, Kazakhstan), where she arrived in July. She worked at a distant camp outpost in a tailor shop, where she often went hungry because her cellmates stole her bread. When she began to show signs of worsening tuberculosis she was sent to the camp hospital. She survived in the camp only thanks to the help of her friend, Sr. Lucia Davidyuk, who was the head of the clinic and sent her food. In 1939 she was released from the camp; returned to Maloyaroslavets, lived with Sr. Lucia, and worked in the embroidery shop. During the war she and the other sisters came under the German occupation; after the return of the Red Army she returned to Maloyaroslavets; later she was expelled. In 1955 she was living in Maloyaroslavets, but in 1956 she and Sr. Lucia emigrated to Lithuania. They settled in the little town of Maishagala outside Vilnius – she kept house and died there (exact date of death unknown). Sources: Assumptionist Archives, Rome, 2ER.66, p. 1; GARF, 8409, op. 1, d. 26, l. 161; d. 74, l. 21; d. 75, l. 48; d. 116, l. 263-264, 294; d. 781, l. 130-131; d. 1471, l. 405; d. 1472, l. 55-58; d. 1504, l. 120-125, 131-132; Osipova (1996), p. 156; Osipova (1999), pp. 326-327; Abrikosova et al. (1924); Sokolovskyi, p. 29
Variant Names:
Vasileni-Pozharskaya, Nina; Sister Rosa Maria, OP; Vasileni-Pozharskai︠a︡, Nina Iosifovna (Roza Marii︠a︡)
Hrodna (Belarus); Moscow (Russia); Tobolʹsk (Russia); Siberia (Russia); Romny (Ukraine); Novosibirsk (Russia); Orel (Orlovskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Maloi︠a︡roslavet︠s︡ (Russia); Vilnius (Lithuania)
female; clergy and religious; survived