Beatification Process of the Vincentian Seminarian, Janko Havlik, C.M. (Slovakia)

by | May 3, 2023 | Congregation of the Mission, News | 1 comment

Janko Havlik was born on April 12, 1927 in Vlékovany, near Skalica (present-day Dubovce), Slovakia, into the family of a poor laborer (Karol Havlik, and his wife Justina, née Pollékova). His handwritten curriculum vitae reads: “Since I wanted to continue my studies, I attended for two years the Civic School in Holic, where I walked 6 km a day. After two years I started going to the gym in Skalica, cycling every day, which was 36 km a day.” Janko grew up in times of great economic crisis, which increased during the time of World War II. Then, in 1943, he moved to Banska Bystrica and entered the Apostolic School, (Minor Seminary) of the Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul where he completed his baccalaureate studies. After the war, the political regime changed radically. The victory of February 1948, as it was called, meant the advent of communist totalitarianism and the beginning of an open struggle against the Church.

Janko Havlik was one of the young men on whom the totalitarian power was to exert the full force of its brutality. On October 29, 1951 he was arrested together with other seminarians of the Congregation  The terrifying state police interrogated and tortured him for 16 months, abandoning him to the elements. After the trial, which lasted from February 3 to 5, he was sentenced to ten years in prison. At the end of February 1953, Janko Havlik was escorted to the Jachymov camp where he was forced to labor as a miner in the uranium mine. In this environment of fatigue and suffering he discovered that, if he could not be a priest, he could be a missionary.

He told his dear friend Anton Srholec: “I feel as though I am on a mission. No missionary could choose a better and more difficult mission place.”

He underwent a second trial in 1959 and another year was added to his sentence. Even in prison he was interrogated, mistreated, tortured and left without food. He always behaved bravely. In August 1961, Janko collapsed at work. The diagnosis at the infirmary was: The patient’s condition required immediate hospitalization. When he was able to leave prison, he was sent home terminally ill. The young man who had once been as strong as a fir tree was now only a ruin. But until the Lord called him to Himself, he still managed to describe his spiritual experience, his thoughts and prayers, writing two small but dense notebooks: “The Way of the Cross of the Little Souls” and “Diary”; they are important because they allow us to discover his personal conversations with God, and can become a reliable guide for all those who want to go to God with him.

In spite of everything, Janko had not drunk his cup of bitterness to the bottom. When the sound of the ambulance was spreading through the village, everyone knew that Janko was being transferred to the hospital in Skalica. The agents were constantly spying on him.

His last breath came on December 27, 1965. Janko Havlik, at the age of 37, died suddenly in the street on the feast day of his patron saint, St. John the Evangelist. He died in the morning hours … standing up. He was found in one of the streets of Skalica, leaning against the wall, next to the ash heap of a house.

He led a holy life: devout, excellent in singing, gifted in speech, devoted to the Virgin Mary, persevering and a lover of prayer. On June 9, 2013, the diocesan investigation into the martyrdom of the Servant of God began.

A group of nine theologians gathered on March 30, 2023 and gave a positive and unanimous vote with regard to the martyrdom of the Servant of God Janko HAVLIC. We now await the meeting of the Bishops summoned by the Congregation for the Saints, and the definitive judgment of the Holy Father for his Beatification.

Marlio Nasayó Liévano, CM


1 Comment

  1. Paulinah Appiah Antwi

    Thanks for sharing this important information. We will pray for his Beatification. To God be all the glory and honour.