Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eucharistic Witness: Ven. Laszlo Strattman

For Dr. Laszlo Battyhany Strattman and his wife, the Countess Maria Teresa Coreth, their home was their castle--no, really: it was a castle in their native Hungary. Shortly after the birth of their first child (there would be thirteen more), Dr. Strattman asked special permission of the bishop to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel. From then on, the family's day began with morning Mass in the chapel.

Pope St. Pius X, soon enough, began encouraging more frequent communion and welcoming children to First Communion, so that the family's routine included not only receiving Holy Communion, but making their thanksgiving together, too, guided by the father. (He would spontaneously offer a reflection on the day's liturgy, on the saint of the day, and then assign each child a special practice for the day.) Father and sons also took their assigned turns as servers.

From his own room, Dr. Strattman could look through the window and see the Tabernacle. "At any moment whatever I can speak with Jesus, even at night," he commented. He often made visits to the Blessed Sacrament, especially before going into surgery. Dr. Strattman was an enthusiastic participant in the Chicago Eucharistic Congress of 1926, for which he was the official representative of Hungary; he was also a member of the Permanent Committee for World Eucharistic Congresses.

Just as Laszlo recognized Jesus in the Eucharist, he recognized him in the suffering and the needy. His medical practice was strictly focused on the poor. At his own expense, he built several hospitals. He even paid the wages of those who worked in them. Eventually, he turned one wing of the family's castle into a hospital.

Dr. Strattman saw himself in the role of Simon of Cyrene, helping the suffering Jesus in the person of the poor to carry the cross. He himself underwent the suffering of the Cross during an extended illness, uniting himself with Christ Crucified in that suffering and finally in his death at Vienna in 1931.

Video of images from the Chicago Eucharistic Congress:

The Eucharistic Congress - Chicago 1926 from Chicago History Museum on Vimeo.

1 comment:

K T Cat said...

Wow! I'd never thought you could do something like that. What a beautiful story.