24th May 2021

One sister, member of both Mary Ward branches

We bring today a curious story or Union before Union that took place in the late 40s of the past Century and that Betty Crotter, IBVM archivist from USA, found on the Archive:

In 1948, after the Second World Ward, three sisters from the “Englische Fräulein” (English Ladies) in Hungary accepted an invitation by Mother General Victorine of the IBVM North American Branch. They were Mother Veronika Marton, M. M. Prommer and M. M. Csuca, and they left Hungary on November, 24, 1948. Their goal was to get to the US, but it wasn´t going to be easy at all:

Picture of sister Veronka Marton (1910-1995)

A letter describing the events says: “Once they got to the [Hungarian] border, they had to crawl on hands and knees over “No Man’s Land” a distance of about seven or eight miles. They were laden with three habits, one over the other, and all the underwear they could possibly wrap around them. When they reached Austria, contact was made with us” [IBVM of North American Branch].

The letter continues to indicate the difficulties encountered in coming to America. After four months in Austria, Mother Prommer decided to stay there and M. Csuca had developed such bad health issues she was not allowed entry into the USA. So, finally M. Veronika alone made her way to the USA – first on the Queen Mary and then by train to Chicago. She arrived on April 27, 1949.

In 1953 her Mother General (IBMV, as the CJ were called at the time) sent word that she should join the Hungarian nuns in Sun Valley, California, (a community about which we don’t know anything). Three years later, in 1956 she appealed to the Mother Generals of both the North American Branch and the IBMV and received permission to become an IBVM.

 In June 1956 she arrived in Sacramento, California, in her habit, but by December began wearing those of the IBVM. It should have been a big change at the time and, nevertheless, she was being a pioneer. Today, both branches are becoming one and there is no more difference between “them” and “us” as she probably knew from first hand.

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IBVM General House. Via Massaua, 3, 00162 Rome, Italy || CJ General House. Via Nomentana, 250, 00162 Rome, Italy