Tomas MunkLast year the Society of Jesus in Slovakia has put a considerable effort in drawing the attention to a novice, Tomas Munk, who converted to Catholicism from Judaism in the late 1930s.

In the spring of 2008 a  book of Ivan Petransky about his life was published Zivot pod hviezdou (“A life under a star”). People from around the Jesuit community in Ruzomberok have organized a concert to remember this young brave man who in his early life had written: Amor Christi usque ad oblivionem sui – Love for Christ until self-oblivion. The local TV station has produced a documentary DVD on his life and people are very much interested in the witness this young man has got to offer. Parts of the published book were broadcasted on the Catholic radio station in the country.

Tomas Munk was born in Budapest on January 29, 1924 as the first son of a Jewish couple. After conversion in 1939 he was received in the Catholic Church. Tomas studied in Bratislava and partly in Ruzomberok. He decided to become priest in the Society of Jesus where he entered on July 30, 1943. In the autumn of 1944, Nazi soldiers came in Ruzomberok. After several months the whole family was arrested and the Nazi eventually came to the Novitiate and took him away as a Jewish convert. According to a fellow novice, now a respected Jesuit, Tomas confided to him having prayed all night in the Novitiate chapel: “I have sacrificed my life for my nation, for its conversion and for the Church.” Tomas was killed on the way to the concentration camp.

A point of connection for me with Tomas Munk is that we share the same birth date but 45 years apart from each other, and that we had a love of the Society. May he interceded for all of us.