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READY: Andrej Brázda - Biografia

Andrej Brazda

Born - July 26, 1915
Died – Dec. 24, 2008

Andrej was born and grew up in the small village of Vrbov in Slovakia. The village was surrounded by pastoral fields with the majestic High Tatras in the background. This picturesque place was filled with romantic notions of life so important for young Andrej’s mind. Perhaps it was there under his favorite willow tree that he first entertained the idea of one day going into capital city to get educated and become a journalist, possibly even a writer. The kind priest with a full face was probably talking to him that Sunday, when he quoted from the book of Psalms. “Your tongue is a pen of a ready writer.”

The capital of Bratislava was an exciting place, as he discovered years alter, when he plunged into a study of Christian philosophy and the German and Latin languages. Still at a tender age, he married Marta a woman of many virtues, and together they were blessed with two girls and two boys. A few years later Andrej landed a dream job working on the Catholic weekly newspaper. The following Years were prolific and filled with many new creative projects.

Their home was always open to the walking wounded, and he nursed many, back onto the road of life, by helping them believe, that what was meant unto evil, God would turn into good. In the year 1968, during the Russian invasion of Czech-Slovakia, when he was traveling to Rome, he was warned by a special courier not to return to Slovakia. Instead, he went to Vienna where he was later joined by his wife and the youngest member of the family. The next few weeks they all lived behind the walls of a monastery safe from suspicious stares of foreign men driving black Mercedes.

They decided to apply to the Canadian embassy where they welcomed ther applications and processed them in three weeks. Andrej and his small family left for Kitchener, where they reunited with his oldest son and his family.

Within two years Andrej successfully finished an ESL program and a course in journalism. Shortly after that he was offered a position as an editor of the Canadian Slovak newspaper by the Canadian Slovak League, which he wholeheartedly accepted. He hit the ground running as usual and began the most challenging and fulfilling years of his journalistic career.

Andrej often burned the midnight oil, working on what would be his future novels. Even with his hectic schedule he took time to lend a sympathetic ear, whether it was to a letter carrier with heavy bags and even heavier heart, or to a homesick Slovak poet.

The word retirement was rarely mentioned on the household, because for him it meant only shifting into lower gear. In his darkest moments he always turned to the Word of God for comfort and guidance and as far as he was concerned his breath was in God hands as were all his ways.

Andrej died peacefully in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve, before the rays of the sun could kiss him good bye and the playful starlings had begun to sing.

by Bystrik Brazda

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