Biography of Father Wendelin Jaworka, SJ

Born into the family of a railroad worker in Ruzhomberok, Slovakia, on October 15, 1882. In 1906 he graduated from the philosophy department of the university in Bratislava; August 14, 1908, he entered the Society of Jesus; until 1912 he worked as a teacher in a gymnasium in Kalocsa (Hungary). In 1916 he graduated from the theology department of the university in Innsbruck, Austria. Ordained August 15, 1915. From 1915, during the First World War, he was a chaplain in the Austro-Hungarian Army; in 1919, after demobilization, he became the rector of the Pedagogical Institute in Trnava [Slovakia]. From 1924 he was a preacher and superior of the Jesuit monastery in Bratislava; from 1926 he was deputy rector, and then from 1929, he was rector of the Russicum Collegium in Rome. In 1934 he was sent to Harbin; he was deputy to Fr. Fabian Abrantowicz; in September Fr. Abrantowicz appointed him a missionary of the Russian Catholic parish in Shanghai. In 1939 he returned to Rome where he again served as rector of the Russicum. In the autumn of 1941 he was sent as the pastor of the Greek Catholic parish in Chernivtsi, and also tended parishes where there were no priests; was there at the time of the German and Soviet occupations. June 12, 1945 – arrested in Chernivtsi as “an agent of the Vatican who had come to the USSR to carry out espionage.” At the interrogations, they demanded that Fr. Wendelin give the names of priests who had graduated from the Russicum and been sent to work in the USSR, but they got nothing from him. The basic charge against Fr. Wendelin was that, as rector of the Russicum, he had “prepared for sending into the USSR, for purposes of intelligence, a number of persons from among the White Russian emigrants and foreigners who were hostile to the existing Soviet system, and dispersing the influence of Catholicism among the Russian populace of the USSR.” November 12, 1945 – sentenced under Article 58-6 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in corrective labor camp [Special Board, USSR NKVD]. Sent to Temnikov corrective labor camp; in 1954 he was transferred to the Inta section of Minlag [Inta, Kozhvink region, Komi ASSR); granted an early release January 9, 1955, on account of illness and sent to the settlement in Vorkuta. In March 1955 he was transferred to Potma, Mordovian ASSR, and then later, to Abez. In 1956 he left for Slovakia; he settled in Tsilin, where he died March 24, 1956. Sources: Osipova (1996), p. 217; Pokaianie, p. 395; Investigatory Matter V.M. Yavorka, Central Archive, FSB, Russian Federation
Variant Names:
Jaworka, Wendelin; I︠A︡vorka, Vendelin Mikhailovich
Ružomberok (Slovakia); Bratislava (Slovakia); Kalocsa (Bács-Kiskun Megye, Hungary); Innsbruck (Austria); Harbin (China); Rome (Italy); Shanghai (China); Mordovii︠a︡ (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; survived