On May 23rd, the Nuns Comendadoras remember blessed Vilmos Apor, bishop and martyr.
Vilmos (Gabriel) Apor de Altorja was born on February 29th, 1892 as the sixth of the eight children of Baron Gabriel and Countess Fidelia Palffy, fervent Catholics, in the city of Segesvár (diocese of Alba Iulia), which at the time was part of Hungary.
After successfully completing his studies in sacred theology at the University of Innsbruck, in 1915 he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Oradea Mare (Dioecesis Magnovaradinensis Latinorum). For twenty-three years he carried out the ministry of parish priest in the city of Gyula, distinguishing himself for pastoral care, social work, the care of the sick and the education of young people. Pius XI on January 21st, 1941 created him Bishop of Győr.
Entirely devoted to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, he excellently performed the functions of teaching, sanctification and governance.
He rescued many people during the difficult years of the Second World War, strongly opposing both Nazism and Communism.
On the afternoon of March 28th, 1945 – Good Friday – when Soviet troops reached his diocese, he offered a safe haven to numerous women and children in his residence and he also protected women who feared being raped. When four or five drunken Soviet soldiers arrived with the intention of taking a hundred women to their barracks, Bishop Apor kept them well hidden in the cellar, not giving them even when threated with weapons. The soldiers were about to leave when suddenly a girl, terrified, came out of her hiding place to escape, attracting the attention of one of the soldiers: before he could fire with the machine gun, Mons. Apos shielded her with his body.
As the bishop collapsed, the soldiers fled. Taken to the hospital, for three days Bishop Apor was afflicted by bitter pains that he endured for the benefit of his faithful and his priests. After having granted forgiveness to his attackers, Mons. Apor passed away on the Monday after Easter. He was beatified by Saint John Paul II on November 9th, 1997.
Blessed Vilmos Apor, bishop and martyr, was a Conventual Chaplain ad Honorem of our Order.