Vásárhelyi

(A short abstract of the Hungarian original work)

 

The Vásárhelyi family is originated from Bács county from the 13th century, their initial settlement was near the mouth of the River Tisza in Kisdivásárhely. One of their descedants was a friar of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, András Vásárhelyi, whose song about Virgin Mary written in 1508 is the first written full text in Hungarian language. After the Battle of Mohács (1526) the family moved to Szatmár and Bereg county. Ferenc Vásárhelyi was a landed noble man in the village Bene in 1669. The regulation engineer of the River Tisza and the Iron Gate of the River Danube and the member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences,Pál Vásárhelyi (1795-1846) alsobelongs to this family, but he had no male offspring, hence his branch was extinct.

The Vásárhelyi family's main branch from Arad started with Márton Vásárhelyi, who turned back to Catholic Church and thereafter all of his descendants are Catholic. His grandson the famous vice-count of Arad, János Vásárhelyi (1758-1837)married to Anna Simándi Bánhidy in 1799, hencehe became member of the upper-classof county and got his wife's family land in Lőkösháza. He had a valuable library and was interested in art and literature, he even wrote short stories.Starting from his son János Vásárhelyi (1800-1843), the fathers and sons of the next generations were significant people in public life and also Members of the Diet of Hungary.

 

Veronika Vásárhelyi de Kézdivásárhely (alias Vera Vásárhelyi)

(Kristófné Kállay)

(15th November 1920, Lőkösháza – 27th August 2000, Budapest)

 

Her father: András Vásárhelyi de Kézdivásárhely (22nd August 1895 – 16th October 1981) landowner in Lőkösháza, permanent member of the local government of Csanád-Arad-Torontál county,member ofthe Diet of Hungary.

Her mother: Csernovics Eszter de Mácsa (1st March 1900 – 23rd April 1957).

Education:

First she was taught by a private teacher at home. Then she studied in the public school of the Nunnery of Notre Dame de Sion in Buda until 1938, one of the best public schools in Hungary.

Shemarried to Dr. Kristóf Kállay (1916-2006), eldest son of Prime Minister Miklós Kállay (Nicholas Kállay) in 1942. They had two sons. Their eldest son András was born in Budapest in 1944. She was ill during her second pregnancy because of their escaping and hiding from the Nazis and Soviets between 1944 and Easter 1946. Kristóf Kállay and his wife with their toddler son crossed the Hungarian border on Palm Sunday midnight 14th April 1946 and brought only a suitcase of personal things with them. They arrived in Rome on 1st May 1946.

After giving birth to Miklós in August 1946 in Naples, Italy, Vera Vásárhelyiwas diagnosed with Tuberculosis. Her children were not allowed to be with her in the first years of her illness. She was healing in sanatoriums and taking part in cures in several hospitals in themountains for regularly 3-4 months. After 8 years she was cured torelably.

Kristóf Kállay and his family lived on a very small scale, only on the financial support of his father Miklós Kállay in Capri Island and later in Castelgandolfo, Italy for 6-7 years. In 1951 they moved to Rome and lived there until their homecoming. Her father-in-law Miklós Kállay moved to the US in 1953 and settled there.

At last in 1951 her husband got a job. He became the Secretary General ofthe European Federation for Animal Science (EAAP) . In the same year Vera Vásárhelyi also got a job at Actio Catholica as a secretary with the help of Baron Gábor Apor de Altorja. She worked as an editor at the Katolikus Szemle (Catholic Review) for 25 years under the directorship of Gellért Békés writer and theologian, chief editor of the Katolikus Szemle (Catholic Review). She also worked at the Hungarian Studio of the Italian Radio. She continously published her short stories mainly at the Katolikus Szemle (Catholic Review), besides she wrote stories for the following magazines of Hungarian immigrants: Szivárvány (Rainbow), Új Hungária (New Hungary), Irodalmi Újság (Literary Magazine), Krónika (Chronicles), Nemzetőr (Militiaman).

Works:

1962 – Keserű babér(Bitter bay laurel)

1974 – Fondor magány(Guileful loneliness)

1978 – Fogyó holnapok(Waning tomorrows)

1978 – Literary Award of Sándor Sík for her collection of short stories titledFondor magány (Waning tomorrows), and especially for the short story titled Bettina

1988 – Skorpió hava(Month of Scorpio)

1995 - Olvadó jég kezemben az idő(Time is melted ice in my hands) andNaplótöredékek olaszországi életünkről(Fragments from the diary of our Italian life)

1996 - Csupán az emlék maradandó(Only memories are remaining)andGondolatok Rónay György: A kert című verseskötetének olvasásakor(Notes on reading György Rónay's collection of poems: The Garden)

More than 30 of her reviews were published in the Katolikus Szemle (Catholic Review) about the works of the following authors: Alexander Lénárt, György Ferdinándy, György Rónay, Sándor Márai, Zsuzsa Vadnay, Éva Saáry, Tibor Tollas, etc. She was in correspondence with plenty of significant authors of the Hungarian Literature in the West (émigré literature). For example Éva Saáry, Ferenc Szabó, Tibor Tollas, Zsuzsa Vadnay, Tamás Tűz, Ágnes Mária Csíky, Tamás Kabdebó, Györgyi Vándor, Ferenc Fáy, László Cs.Szabó, etc. were her friends. Besides reading and writing she loved painting. She was taught by her aunt when she was a child and four decades later she became the famous painter's, Mátyás Triznya's (Mattia Triznya) student in Rome. One of her best friends were Mátyás Triznya's wife, Zsuzsa Szőnyi.

She supported her husband's diplomatic career and accompanied him from congress to congress. She also managed and organized programs, lunches and dinners to the diplomats and their wives, though she did not like these "noisy parties".

She became a Dame of the Sovereign Order of Malta in 1969. In 1956 she and her husband organised the helping service of the Order of Malta. In her own home and in the Saint Stephen House in Rome (Casa Di Santo Stefano), she gave first aid services to the penniless and starving refugees, who traveled to Western Europe. She was awarded with a medal in 1981 for her altruistic work after the earthquake in South Italy in 1980.

Her sons grew up and have families. András has three children: Katalin, Krisztina and Kristóf. Miklós has a son and a daughter: András and Heléne.

After 45 years she stepped again on Hungarian land in 1990. She did not like the idea but accepted her husband's decision and they settled in Budapest, Hungary in 1995 for good. In the last 5 years of her life she was very ill, she rarely went out. She passed away in 27th August 2000.

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