As we hear so much about Cuba in the news of late, it is interesting to note they may have a new saint on the horizon- one who died not 40 years ago.
FATHER JOSE VANDOR
(József Wech, 1909-79) was just proclaimed Venerable by Pope
Francis. He was born in Dorog, Austro-Hungary of German parents who
were farmers. In 1932 he made his perpetual profession as a Salesian
and was ordained in 1936 in Italy.
He asked to go to the
missions and in 1936 went to Cuba. He became a Cuban national and
changed his name to Vandor. He was a headmaster and chaplain for four
years, later becoming rector of the Ag school in Moca, Dominican
Republic.. He was known for his wisdom and prudence and so was chosen
as Master of Novices. In 1946 became administrator to the College of
Arts and Trades in Camaguey, Cuba.
Later he was appointed
to oversee the building of the school of Arts and Trades. When the
school opened, Joseph Vandor was appointed rector, a post he held
until 1961, when the Communists came to power and schools
passed into the hands of the Minister for Education. He was named
rector of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In 1965, he became
its first parish priest.
"Fr. Vandor can
be compared to St. Francis de Sales for his patient docility, his
prudent dedication, his enlightened wisdom as a spiritual director
and to St. John Bosco for his apostolic dynamism, his love of poor
youth, his spirit of faith, his serene cheerfulness and his cordial
It is not easy to
summarize Fr. Vandor's moral stature. The Bishop wrote: "With
Fr. Vandor's death, the Salesian Congregation has lost a son, the
diocese an exemplary priest, the faithful a beloved father" and
we can add: "Villaclara has lost an honored citizen, who
identified with the Corporation's educational concerns."
fact, the journalist Antonio Diaz Vázquez, in a piece entitled 'a
lamp that burns and shines brightly' wrote: "He was one of the
most lovable, dedicated and noble souls of the clergy of