A Budai Erzsébet-apácák Szent Ferenc Sebei templomának felújítása a tavalyi évben készült el a most záruló Nemzetközi Eucharisztikus Kongresszus alkalmára, az átalakulás az idén elhunyt Fehér Anna nővér kezdeményezésének is köszönhető. Az Ő munkája révén jelent meg többek között hazánkban az első Braille-írásos Biblia is, és több mint harminc éven át irányította a Vakok Batthyány László Római Katolikus Gyermekotthonát. Az alábbiakban a nővér közbenjárásával megújult templom tervezőjének, Z. Halmágyi Juditnak Ferenc pápához írt levelét osztjuk meg Olvasóinkkal.
Your Holiness Pope Francesco,
I am writing to you not merely in my name but also in the name of Sister Anna - who passed away in January. She was the last Hungarian sister of The Order of the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth (of Hungary or Thuringia) Church, Monastery and Hospital that can be traced back to around 1240 after the saint’s canonisation (1235). Elizabeth built a hospital from her dowry and cared for the sick and the poor with her companions before joining the Third Order of Saint Francis (of Assisi). Following in her footsteps, Sister Anna’s life and deeds led to her being respected as a saint by everyone who came into contact with her. Therefore, I find it of utmost importance to convey her existence to you and pass on her dream and what she represented in our community if you ever so kindly take the time to read through these lines.
When it came to Sister Anna’s attention that the upcoming 2020 IEC will be held in Hungary - for the first time since 1938 - she was overwhelmingly delighted. It was always her dream to meet Your Holiness in person, and the promise of this visit gave her courage to keep striving and stay hopeful during her mission which at times seemed arduous and dead-end. These difficulties were due to the distortions in faith caused by the hands of the past and current political regime. In this environment, almost as a rebel, she established the St. Anne´s Home for the Blind Children within the Roman Catholic Charity Service - as you can see in the attached curriculum vitae - for which she was often negatively judged and dragged for. In these times of darkness, I frequently asked her what is it that keeps her going? And she answered with her bright, warm smile that she always overcomes her inner struggles by thinking, “What am I to worry about when Christ holds me in his palms?"
With passion in her heart, she created this institute which is so much more than what meets the eye. It´s not merely the refuge for the visually impaired but also for anyone impacted by a disability of some sort - equipped with the most modern educational and physiotherapic tools and mental health professionals. Sister Anna accepted everyone in need into her institute, demonstrating true Christian love - and to be able to do so, her hard work of 40-50 years came into fruition. Her true wish was to show Your Holiness her institution and introduce her ‘children’, the residents. As she unfortunately, passed away early this year, she was never able to convey this wish. Therefore I took it upon myself to do so as a way of carrying out her testament.
Allow me to spare some sentences on how I got to know Sister Anna through our collaboration in renovating the Church of Stigmatisation of Saint Francis (Saint Francesco from Assisi). As the institute led by Sister Anna and the church our team was working on was of a close distance, we often found ourselves attending the mass with her community which lead to us gradually getting to know each other. Her insight came tremendously helpful in the design stages of the renovation, especially when thinking about the colour concept, which was a central focus point. We found a colour that in cloudy weather resembles the steel-blue, which was a known attribute of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary - paying our tribute to the saint - but it transforms into a Mary-blue when met directly with sunlight. Another important part of the renovation was the Kaleidoscope window which - just as a crystal- breaks the light which enters through it into rainbows when the sun rises from the East. However, when dusk comes, the window radiates light to the outside world through a specific structure.
This phenomenon symbolises the power of the Holy Spirit as it broadcasts the light of the everlasting candle - with the light seeping through this diamond-like window into the night, we wanted to represent the notion of evangelisation. Please see the brochures and time-lapse footage attached to this email.
I have shared this with you because I wanted to represent Sister Anna after her death, her life’s work and her unyielding faith. The whole community respected her as a living saint. For this, I humbly plead if Your Holiness can commemorate her in a few sentences in your sermon during the closing mass of the IEC on the 12th of September, we would be eternally grateful.
Previously I had an email exchange with Father Kornél regarding this matter, and perhaps he has already conveyed the community´s wish towards Your Holiness regarding the sermon. We were also hoping to discuss if it is possible; how could the community start the process of Sister Anna’s beatification?
Praised be the Lord,
With eternal gratitude and kindest regards,
Z. Halmágyi Judit and the whole Project Team,
FB: ZHJ Architects