A Petition of the Schwarzthalers:

Sophie A. Welisch PhD, Trans.

Posted 15 September 2017

To our eminently majestic and benevolent Imperial Mother, Karolina, benefactor and Lady in Charge of the Leopold Foundation in Vienna.

The dutiful and obedient subjects from the community of Schwarzthal implore you for a small contribution for equipping our humble church!

Mother of the poor!

Oppressed by our fate, we loyal subjects were forced to leave our fatherland of Bohemia and seek our worldly sustenance in Bukovina. In 1836 we reached Bukovina, where we had been assured of the fertility of the land, yet were frustrated in our expectations for six years during which we eked out an existence as day-wage laborers and through the kind beneficence of generous people.

In 1842 the honorable Imperial and Royal Department of Economic Affairs in Solka assigned us settlement land in the high mountain chain in a tree-covered, uncultivated and stony region, where we indeed settled and lived in barracks. For this we express our warmest gratitude to the administration and to the throne of His Majesty. But our settlement lies four miles away from our parish church. We were born and brought up in the Roman Catholic religion and would also like to raise our children in the same religion.

But we could not get to church, first, because of the great distance, and secondly because of the many mountain streams, which we had to traverse at least ten times before reaching Gurahumora. As a result, we were forced to muster our resources and build a small church albeit from flimsy materials in order to praise God and not to weaken in our faith or forget it entirely. The preacher from Gurahumora travels four miles to us in order to conduct church services in our humble church to strengthen us in our faith. In our greatest poverty and distress and with all effort, we built our small church, which is already on the verge of collapse. But tragically! Despite all our efforts we could not raise the means to equip our church with the essentials for religious services. So we turn to you, Imperial Mother Karolina, since all, even foreigners, confirm the reputation of your Imperial Highness for charity and generosity. We set our solid trust in the beneficence and goodness of Your Majesty and dare convey our innermost plea with tearful supplication as children of our kind and loving mother. May your poor children, begging and imploring your assistance, find mercy and though Your Majesty’s generous hand grant us a small contribution for equipping and repairing our modest little church.

For this we will all pray to God for Your Majesty’s well-being in this world and the next.

Schwarzthal, September 15, 1865
Ambros Hoffmann (village judge), Josef Bernhauser, Josef Pielsel, Johann Seemann, (church elder)

(The community seal on the document shows a fir tree with a saw to the left and an ax on the right. Under it the name “Schwarzthal.”)