Admired by his friends
Stephen Sandor was born in Szolnok, in Hungary, on 26 November 1914 son of Stephen and Maria Fekete, the first of three brothers. His father worked with the State Railways, and his mother at home. Both gave their children a deep religious spirit. Stephen studied in the city gaining a diploma in metallurgy. As a youngster he was admired by his friends, and was happy, serious and gentle. He liked hanging around with his friends, and was a leader amongst them, like John Bosco was for the young people of Chieri. He helped his younger brothers to study and pray, giving them his own example. He was fervent at the time of his Confirmation and promised to imitate St Peter, whose name he took for Confirmation.
Came to know about Don Bosco through the Salesian Bulletin
Each day he served Mass at the Franciscans and received Communion. Reading the Salesian Bulletin he came to know about Don Bosco. He immediately felt attracted by the Salesian charism. He spoke to his spiritual director, expressing a desire to enter the Salesian Congregation. He spoke to his parents about it. They did not give permission and sought to dissuade him. But Stephen ended up convincing them, and in 1936 he was accepted at the Clarisseum, where he made an aspirantate of two years. He completed a course in how to be a printer at the “Don Bosco” Printery. He began his novitiate but it was interrupted by military service.
In 1939 he began to complete his novitiate and made his first vows on 8 September 1940. Asked to go to the Clarisseum, he immediately began to teach technical courses. He was also assistant at the Oratory, something he did competently and enthusiastically. He fostered the 'Young Catholic Workers'. His group was soon recognised as the best in the Movement. Following Don Bosco's example, he became a model teacher. In 1942 he was called back to the 'Front', and earned a silver medal for military valour. He made a festive oratory out in the trenches encouraging his young friends in a Salesian style.
Master printer and a Salesian Brother
At the end of the Second World War he involved himself in rebuilding society morally and materially, especially in the case of poor young people whom he gathered around him in order to teach them a trade. On 24 July 1946 he made his perpetual profession as a Salesian Brother. In 1948 he gained the title of Master Printer. Stephen's students, when they compelted their studies, were employed by the best printeries in the State and in the city.
Cause of martyrdom
A period of persecution of Catholic schools began, and they had to close. Stephen was working in the printery, but he had to escape and hide in Salesian Houses, working under a false name in public Printeries.
In July 1952 he was arrested while working, and his confreres never saw him again.
His Cause of martyrdom was opened at Budapest on 24 May 2006, and he was beatified on 19 October 2013