Mission statement: Euchristia, Poenitentia, Immaculata, Ecclesia - These words form the essence of our charisma that is ecclesiastical and missionary in serving the Church and the world with prayer and action - evangelization.
Short history: There were already Norbertine Sisters in Hungary in the Middle Ages (there were several houses, Ivancic, Somlovasarhely, Szeged, Brasso in Hungary in those days). In the 16th century at the time of the Turkish invasion, the Order of Sisters died out. It was re-established in 1927 by the Sister community of Zwierzyniec (Poland) and by a Hungarian Norbertine Father, Dr Sebastian Ráday. They started with 3 sisters in Külsôvat. By 1950 we had 70 sisters in 11 houses all over Hungary. Our Sisters were teaching at primary schools, were running nurseries and were cantors in the parishes. Religious orders were dispersed in Hungary in 1950, because of the Communist suppression, and only after the political changes in 1990 could our Sisters (35 surviving Sisters) reassemble and function publicly as a Community again. Now we have 20 Sisters in 3 houses in Hungary. Our Motherhouse is in Zsambek (30 Km west of Budapest). Here we have 10 sisters. We had to give up Bakonygyepes. Two of our Sisters died there and the third Sister Emerika is at our Motherhouse. We had to give up Külsôvat as well, because of the health-problems of our Sister Hedvig. She is also now in Zsámbék.
Charism: This is based on St. Norbert's care for the poor, living the life of love for God and his people, while keeping the Eucharist, Poenitentia, Immaculata, and Ecclesia in front of our eyes, in the spirit of the Rule of St. Augustine
Prayers: We pray the Office of the Fathers: Prayer of the Hours. Every morning we have a half hour meditation before Laudes. Once a week on Thursday we have an hour of Adoration, and we pray one hour after supper. We pray for our confreres, for our Order, for our benefactors, for special care for children, pregnant women and for people in need.
Formation: There is a six month Postulancy, a Novitiate of 2 years, 3 periods of 1 year plus a further 3 years Temporary Profession, and after that Solemn vows.
Background: The centre of our work of rehabilitation and reconstruction is in Zsambek and the surrounding area, 30 kilometres from Budapest. As a direct result of 45 years of Communist rule our people suffered physical, mental and spiritual deprivation. When we began our work here, after the change of Government in 1990, we found a situation of almost total impoverishment and apathy. There was no employment, few skilled workers, family life had collapsed, the young had no role models or work ethic, and the selfimage across the age groups was negative and hopeless. Families and children: Step by step we have developed facilities. We began with practical help and counselling for families, and started a Day Care Centre for children from 5 to 15 years, providing meals, clothing, one-to-one care, and introducing values that were previously unknown to them. This year 75 children are in attendance at the Centre. Youth: Because no Further Education facilities were available within a 30 km radius, we opened in 1996 a Trade and Vocational Training School for young people from 15 upwards. They receive work-skill training to whatever level each can sustain, and there is a High School course, culminating in the National Matura Award, for the more able students. Trade courses include Catering, Handicrafts, Needlecraft, Tailoring and tutored workshops in Carpentry, Metalwork, Locksmithing and Building and Allied skills. This year we have 500 students from 15 to 23. It is a vital corrective to the influence of a failed ideology which, nevertheless, provided a type of security on which, sadly, previous generations became dependent. Our emphasis throughout is on personal development, an awareness of values, and responsibility for community in Christ.
Additional projects: Out of these main elements have grown
A) The provision of adult literacy classes for parents and older members of the local community.
B) Job training for the unemployed and unskilled, which is run is in partnership with Government.
Over-riding concern: Traditionally, Hungary is a Catholic country. But we found in 1993 that more people were atheist or agnostic than were Catholic. In all our Projects we work to foster a Christian outlook and, by the grace of God and thanks to our program of evangelization, Baptism, Mass and Sacraments are now central in the lives of increasing numbers of our people.
Corpus Christy day
Blessing of the new school- by Abot Martin from Schlägl in 2003