Today in Catholic History – Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ finishes fifteen year sentence in Soviet Union

On 22 April 1955, Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ finished his fifteen year sentence in the Soviet Union’s Gulag and was released to the city of Norilsk, though with restrictions on his movement. He was finally able to write to his sisters in the United States to inform them of his fate, until this time his family and the Jesuits believed him dead.

Fr. Ciszeck had come to the Soviet Union in 1940 disguised as a worker, but in 1941 he was arrested for spying for the Vatican. He spent five years in solitary confinement in one of the Soviet Union’s most notorious prisons before being sent to the GULAG. During his imprisonment, Fr. Ciszek would continue to act as a priest by hearing confessions, celebrating Mass and offering retreats.

He did not return to the United Sates until 1963 and would write an account of his experiences in the book “With God in Russia”.

The Father Walter Ciszek Prayer League

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