My Brethren, the Very Reverend Fathers,
My Good Christian Brethren
On March 23rd, 1945, a pretty, young and pious working girl suffered martyrdom for Jesus Christ. The portrait of this girl named Mária Magdolna Bódi can be found on the huge mosaic picture of the Hungarian Chapel, Capella Communio Sanctorum, of the Divine Compassion Basilica of Cracow. On this huge mosaic picture depicting Hungarian saints and the blessed she can be seen among those waiting for their beatification.
Magdi lived her short but accomplished earthly life in the territory of our Archdiocese. Her parents were manorial estate workers, who had not received religious education. Due to the lack of the father’s documents, her parents could not contract their marriage in the registry office nor could they receive the blessings of the Church.
Their daughter was born in Szigliget on August 8th, 1921. She was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church of Badacsonytördemic on August 15th. Unfortunately, Magdi did not receive any religious education in her family and could only learn about worshipping God during her religious instructions at school. From the very beginnings, she proved to be diligent, and as a first communicant her soul was attracted by Jesus Christ Himself, thus she became endowed with fairness and goodness. Since she was a merry, good and quick-witted student, both her teacher of religion and the school-master turned their attention to her.
They moved to Mámapuszta from Köveskál in 1934. She loved reading so much that her parish priest gave her religious books to foster her deep-seated spiritual conviction. With the help of her religious erudition, she wanted to suit her actions to the word. At the age of eleven, she did her utmost to help her parents in and around the house. She became a real help for her mother in agricultural labour, who also noticed her longer and longer prayers besides her small self-restraints. These endeavours have gradually fostered her devotion to Jesus Christ, and strengthened her will. She helped everyone and everwhere whenever she saw it necessary. She was particularly fond of small children, and she made loving efforts to help them find their own way to Jesus Christ.
She was 17, when there was a popular mission held at Balatonfűzfő. She has come to realize that she fully wanted to belong to Jesus Christ. She was attracted to living in a monastery, but her unlawful descent meant a real obstacle by canonical standards. Her heart grew heavy when she learned that her desire to enter a convent cannot be fulfilled according to the contemporary ecclesiastic regulations.
The following year, she started working for the Nitrochemical Works Company Ltd. at Fűzfőgyártelep. Besides her work in the factory, she would not neglect household chores either doing the brunt of the work there, too. In spite of the three shifts scheme she had to work in, she managed to find a way to encounter Our Lord Jesus in the Holy Communion since she regularly visited the church while in the factory grounds. People of various social backround came to work there, and their talk was often bawdy, interspersed with swearwords. She even had to suffer anticlerical and defamatory statements. Her colleagues could experience that Magdi was able to respond with serenity to the teasing remarks against her personal religious behaviour. Anticlerical accusations were duly repudiated with clever religious knowledge, smart argumentation, and she would not ever hurt anyone. Since her behaviour was characterized by placid modesty, which was paired by a necessary degree of humour, the initial antipathy of her fellow workers was changed for respect later on. In her presence, they did mind their words. The managers of the factory also evaluated her good work.
She became a pretty woman, who had several suitors. She loved babies, and little children, and respected motherhood above all. In spite of all these facts, she decided not to get married. At the age of twenty, she took a vow of chastity after due considerations.
In 1942, she was initiated into the congregation. After this event, she became even more devout to children at her care within the framework of the Heart Guard Service. She successfully completed her studies at the higher elementary school organized for adults at Fűzfőgyártelep. Besides other charitable activities, she tried to do her utmost to help everybody in want. This work was even more effective when she organized a small group for full-grown girls after she had completed the executive training course of the association for Roman Catholic Working Girls. In the spirit of the noble goals of the association, she taught conscious Catholic world view to the members of her group while they were working in various caritable services and apostolic activities, which was made easier and merrier by the youngsters themselves.
World War II had already started, so she organized a health course for the girls, which she also joined. Magdi and her girl-team started helping elderly people and mothers with little children. They often visited the wounded soldiers in the hospital of Balatonfüred. They helped wherever they could and wherever there was a need to. By faith, Magdi also helped these fullgrown girls in their religious problems and they trusted her to open the secrets of their souls for her.
Magdi prayed to the Lord that she could die young in order to help younger ones get closer to Him.
By the year 1944, Magdi had already lived in Litér, when the clashes of fights could be heard from nearer and nearer. When she learned about alarming news of the fate of women she encouraged her girl-team to protect their chastity, and she decided to keep her own vow offered to Jesus Christ at the sacrifice of her life.
This time has come on March 23rd, 1945. Local women were staying at the entrance of the air-raid shelter when two armed Soviet soldiers arrived. One of them attacked Magdi. She resisted and while trying to escape the embrace of the soldier she warned the others in the bunker with a worried face but in a quiet tone: “Do escape Annuska since it is going to be your turn. I am going to die… Get away my Mother from here since I am going to die”. In the meanwhile, the angry soldier with a bloody face – visible traces of Magdi’s self-defence – appeared at the back entrance of the shelter. As soon as he caught sight of Magdi, he started shooting at once. About six shots hit the back of her body. Magdi stopped at the first shot and raised her hands towards the skies and clasped them with the words: “My Lord, my King! Receive my spirit!” Then she squeezed her rosary in her pocket and the last bullet hit direct in her heart. Magdi fell on her face.
Two weeks later, her parents got married in the Church under the exemptions provided by the Holy See during the state of siege. Contemporary secular regulations also recognized this marriage valid and true. Thenceforward, her parents lived a religious life.
After Magdi’s death, Cardinal Mindszenty, who was the bishop of Veszprém during those days had the thorough twenty-page-long minutes taken of the events. On the basis of the facts described, canonization procedure was initiated and the Latin translations of the necessary documents had also been prepared. Unfortunately, the documents never got to Rome since they had been lost under uncleared circumstances.
By the year 1990, it became possible to continue this case based on the facts summarized in the twenty-page-long original minutes (since this separate document had been the preliminary one to the examination files). Magdi’s pastors and other witnesses had lived then, so there was an opportunity to take the minutes of the affidavits again. We are confident, that there will be a place for Magdi not only on the huge mosaic picture of Cracow, but also among the canonized Hungarian saints. Let us make her name familiar to those, who have never heard about her, and let us ask you for your good offices!
Could you, please, let the archbishop’s office in Veszprém know about the fulfilment of your prayers.