Servant of God Joseph Vandor

José Vandor was born in 1909 in Hungary.  His parents were farmers and he went to school at a monastery and later studied with the Salesians of Don Bosco.  He decided to become a priest when he was young although he really struggled to choose that path because he missed his family quite a bit.  He went to seminary in Italy and was ordained a priest in 1936 and joined the Salesians.  He asked to be sent to missions and he was granted his wish.  He was left on a boat and journeyed to Cuba.  He worked there in schools, seminaries, and with nuns.  He was known for his wisdom and good judgement.  In 1958 during the Battle of Santa Clara – the last final conflict in the revolution – he endangered his own life as a mediator to broker a truce.  Lives were saved thanks to his efforts.  When communists took over the country, he was forced out of the schools and became a parish priest.  Towards the end of his life, he was confined to a wheelchair due to serious illness.  He died in 1979. Pope John Paul II named him Servant of God in 2003. Pope Francis declared him Venerable in 2017. Fr. Vandor can be compared to St. Francis de Sales for his patient docility, prudent dedication, and wisdom in the spiritual direction of souls, and to St. John Bosco for his apostolic dynamism, love for the poorest, spirit of faith, serene cheerfulness, and cordial manners.