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1928 ­ 2018 WOMENS' SOCIETY

90. évforduló 90th anniversary

" Bethlen Katát választottuk mintaképül, aki szerette egyházát, magyar népét, segítette az elesetteket, templomot és iskolát építtetett, s egész életében hű maradt hitéhez. " Nt. Fehér Mihályné szül. Bagossy Mária


Elizabeth Deak

Elizabeth Burgoyne

"Bethlen Kata" Women's Society Annual Report of 2017 ‐ at the AGM of 2018 A Bethlen Kata Nőegylet megalakult március 4‐én, 1928‐ban — 90 éve. A célja mindig az összetartás, a Magyar Református vallás, nyelv és hagyomány megőrzése és átadása az újabb generációnak. Szorgalmasan dolgoztak és övék a dicséret hogy van ez a gyönyörű templomunk. Az évek gyorsan teltek s létszámuk és erejük nagyon elfogyott. Az utóbbi években nyugdíjas férfiak is csatlakoztak és összegyűltek “csiga” ‐és más laska tésztát készíteni, hogy legyen bevétel a templomnak. A múlt évben két kiváló személy

halt meg: Burgoyne Erzsike, pénztáros, és Deák Erzsike {92 éves), aki a legfinomabb fánkot csinálta. A Bethlen Kata Nőegylet vagyona át van utalva a templom pénztárába. Vajon most mi lesz a Bethlen Katásokkal? Egyelőre a terv az, hogy összejövünk a templom teremben és csináljuk a laska tésztát a templom javára. Kérjük, hogy a jó Isten továbbra is áldja a Bethlen Katákat és mindnyájunkat. Hálás köszönet mindenkinek és Boldog Új Évet. Julia Varga Nyisztor

This year 2018 is the 90th Anniversary of the founding of the Bethlen Kata Ladies’ Society on March 4, 1928. Their purpose has always been to raise funds to support their beloved church, preserve and promote their Hungarian Reformed Faith and their Hungarian language and heritage. During the years the group organized picnics, bazaars, Sunday afternoon teas, fabulous dinners, Szureti Bals and other dances all to keep the community together and, of course, to support the church. In recent years with their numbers and energies diminished, the ladies have been joined by several retired gentlemen and they have been getting together about every two weeks to make “csiga” and other pasta, socialize and have lunch and with the proceeds from the sales help the church. This past year we have lost two exemplary ladies—Elizabeth Burgoyne who was the Treasurer (and more recently President after Irene Tombs’ passing) and Elizabeth Deak an amazing 92 year old who made the best donuts. The monies from the Bethlen Kata treasury have been transferred to the Church’s account‐‐‐and, now, we must contemplate our future. For the present we will try to keep the little pastamaking group working together and praying to God for His guidance and care. God , please bless the Bethlen Katas and God bless us all. Thanks to all for your support and Happy New Year to all. Julie Varga Nyisztor

BETHLEN KATA AND THE BETHLEN KATA WOMEN’S SOCIETY OF THE HUNGARIAN UNITED CHURCH IN MONTREAL ‐ THE FIRST SEVENTY YEARS In many countries of the world where there are Hungarian Reformed congregations there are women’s church organizations which have chosen to name themselves after Countess Kata Bethlen, daughter of one of the great noble families of Erdély (Transylvania). Kata Bethlen was born in Bonyha in 1700 and died in Fogaras in 1759. She was twice widowed at an early age and her children died young. It is for that reason that she called herself ‘Arva Bethlen Kata’, that is Kata Bethlen the orphan. Left on her own she set about to manage her estates. She was widely known and respected in the Hungary of her time not only for her profound Reformed Christian faith but also for her tireless work in promoting and nurturing the Reformed Church at the time when the Habsburgs sought to stamp out Protestantism in all its forms. She was a woman of many interests. She assisted writers in publishing their works and sent student ministers abroad to study. In her court she established workshops for many crafts such as candle‐making, paper‐ making, and carpentry, where she had an excellent training program. She taught embroidery and her studio produced many exquisite pieces which can still be seen in churches of the area and museums. She developed a model farm where she bred horses, planted vineyards and fruit trees. Our Bethlen Kata Women’s Society was founded on March 4, 1928. The purpose was to bring together Hungarian women living in Montreal to help them get to know each other, help each other, and assist newcomers in adjusting to their surroun­ dings. The aim was to nurture Christian faith in the family and in the community ,

to foster Christian benevolence and love particularly towards the sick and needy, and promote self‐development and education through singing, reading, recitations and other presentations and to provide opportunities for wholesome entertainment in the community. From the very beginning, the women sought not merely to raise funds to support their church but also to preserve and promote their Hungarian Reformed faith and their Hungarian language and culture. Keeping in mind their aims, the women organized variety shows, balls, church dinners, bazaars, and handicraft exhibitions and amateur theatricals. They visited the sick and found ways to help mothers with their babies. When the Great Depression struck (1929), they provided meals for the unemployed and gave social assistance without regard to the religious affiliation of the needy. Through their activities the women were also able to raise funds not only to support the day to day expenses of the church but also build up a fund for the acquisition of our own church building. A very important place was given by the women to the production of plays in the Hungarian language. Through this medium it was possible to keep together the young people of the congregation, to help them learn, use and love the language, the songs, the dances, the customs and the poetry of Hungary. The theatricals, grape festivals and spring balls, picnics and afternoon teas all served to educate, entertain, and keep the young people active within the community. This social activity lightened the seriousness of Hungarian School and Sunday School classes and gave budding romances a chance to flower. After the Second World War the various waves of newcomers and refugees, the ‘Displaced Persons’ of the late 1940’s, the ‘Freedom Fighters’ of 1956, and those who came later, were given warm welcomes by the women. Help was given to the needy. Always the women were ready to give a

helping hand to provide food, shelter and clothing, as well as moral and spiritual support. Many of the newcomers were assimilated into the congregation and enriched the various church groups. Our present church was built in 1954‐1955. The Bethlen Kata women worked tirelessly to gather funds first for the building then for the paying off of the mortgage. Eventually the church kitchen was renovated, the organ was replaced, the carpets in the sanctuary were installed and the roof was replaced. There was no end to the projects they undertook and completed. The women also sought to preserve our Hungarian food heritage. At first they were the ones who cooked and baked the traditional Hungarian delicacies – dobos and walnut tortes, poppy seed and walnut roulades, strudles,special pastas for soup garnishes, stuffed cabbage rolls, paprikas chicken, and the wonderful kolbasz and hurka sausages. Eventually they taught the younger women the secrets of the Hungarian kitchen. Thanks to their efforts the tradition continues in the hands of our second and third generation cooks who produce wonderful dinners and celebrations which give all of us opportunities for fellowship and conviviality. In 1988 the Bethlen Kata Women celebrated their 60 anniversary. Mrs. Kalman Bodi, long time president, on this occasion handed the torch to the younger Women’s Auxilliary and the Young Women’s Fellowship Circle. The three groups merged and became the New Bethlen Kata Women’s Society. Ever since, our women follow in the paths built by their mothers and grandmothers, and the great lady of the Hungarian Reformed Church, Kata Bethlen, whose spirit and faith continued to be the guiding principle. May they continue the fine work of supporting the church, preserving and promoting the faith, language, traditions and culture of our Hungarian Reformed ancestors through worship, hospitality, fellowship and good works. Mary Feher

While our numbers maybe diminished we are still capable of many activities such as making pasta, preparing refreshments after the Sunday service. Small reception, mnini bake sale and helping whenever or wherever we are needed. The other groups of the chruch can count on us for our cooperation and help. The well being of our church remains our common goal and with that help we will continue our work. At this time we take the opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to evreyone who helped us in our work to support our church. ELizabeth Deak Vice president, Elizabeth Burgoyne Treasurer


Dear Friends,


The year of was a traumatic year for the Bethlen Kata. Not only did we lose our long standing and beloved friend and president, Irene Tombs, but also during a ten month period, we lost five long standing members. Namely, Julia Farkas, Margaret Gaal, Betty Kara, Edna Mustelli and Esther Vegh. Let us remember them for their many years of friendship and devoted work for the benefit of our church. After due reflection we agreed to go on and continue our work for our church as members of the Bethlen Kata Women's Society. We meet every second Monday, to make pasta, csiga noodles. We are joined by several men from the congregation an avarage about twenty people on a MOnday. We look forward to the comradery and the sharing of a lovely meal. Everyone is invited to come and make the csiga.

The Days and the Years The days and the years flew fast away but from the height You can see everything what experience and wisdom could pile up that is the real treasure that everyone wishes. Nothing can do it, it belongs to a certain age, as everything moves in great and holy circles, rain and snow, seasons, all in a pilgrimage, as we are all pilgrims amazed by miracles, And by the law in the nature and in our heart. As the forces in the Universe, so powerful the feeling in us, that we have a Lord of Might who wonderfully governs, and gently rules. Attila L. Gyorgy

Nt. Fehér Mihályné Bagossy Mária

BETHLEN KATA MEGEMLÉKEZÉS 2013 / 85. évfordulón / by Mary Feher Tiszteletes Úr, Tiszteletes Asszony, Bethlen Kata Nőegyesület, Kedves Egyháztagok, Kedves Magyar Testvérek. Isten csodálatos kegyelméből ismét együtt vagyunk, ünnepelünk, hálát adunk nyolcvanöt éves munkáért a Bethlen Kata Nőegyesület nyolcvanötödik évfordulóján. Gondoltam, hogy ez egy jó alkalom felolvasni Édesanyám, egy alapító tag, beszédének egy kis részét, ami elhangzott 1978. május 14‐én az ötvenedik évforduló ünnepén. Kérem hallgassák meg üzenetét a múltból a múltról. "Mikor ötven évvel ezelőtt elindultunk, szükségét éreztük, hogy a nagy idegenben kell egy kis Magyar otthont teremtenünk, ahol honfitársak, barátok, ismerősök között, kibeszélgetve magunkat, egy baráti szóval, egy meleg kézszorítással, esetleg jó tanáccsal, bátorítással, gazdagabban térünk haza új otthonunkba a mindennapi munkához. Alapítsunk egy nőegyesületet. Tervezzünk alapszabályokat melynek alapján dolgozzunk. Az alapszabály röviden igy szól: Egy testvéri közösségben összehozni a Montreálban élő magyar nőket; összejöveteleken egymást megismerni és egymás segítségére lenni;

az istenfélő, vallásos élet ápolása úgy a családban, mint azon kivül; a keresztyén jótékonyság gyakorlása betegekkel és szűkölködőkkel szemben; a beteg tagok meglátogatása, segítése és vigasztalása; az önnevelés, önképzés segítése előadások rendezésével stb.; tiszta és nemes szórakozások nyújtása. Későbben iktatódott be a fő cél: Egyházunk segítése és a magyar templom építése. Bethlen Katát választottuk mintaképül, aki szerette egyházát, magyar népét, segítette az elesetteket, templomot és iskolát építtetett, s egész életében hű maradt hitéhez. A kis csoport lelkesen dolgozott. Tagjainak száma növekedett. Katolikus nőtestvéreink is jöttek, hogy résztvegyenek a munkában. De pár hónap múlva ők is kaptak pásztort, aki egyházba tömörítette őket, de azért kölcsönös megértéssel támogattuk egymás munkáját, hiszen egy hazából származtunk, egy az Istenünk és magyarságunkban testvérek vagyunk. Hosszú volna elmondani a küzdelmes évek eseményeit, de annyit mondhatok, hogy örömmel munkálkodtunk, ha néha sírtunk is, de ha a magyar dal felhangzott a munkaidő alatt, felszáradtak a könnyek s a munka ment tovább. Számtalan esetben nyújtott segélyt a nőegyesület az arra rászorult családoknak, egyéneknek felekezeti különbség nélkül. A beteglátogatók szorgalmasan látogatták a betegeket a kórházakban vagy az otthonukban. Az egyesület kulturális téren is munkálkodott. Számtalan műkedvelő előadást rendezett, melyeket mindig nagy örömmel várt a Montreáli Magyar kolónia. Ezek nagy jelentőségűek voltak, mert ez adott alkalmat a Református Magyar Iskola mellett a gyermekeknek és ifjaknak a magyar nyelv tanulására és gyakorlására."

Most folytatom angolul: Rev Gyorgy, Bethlen Kata Women, fellow members of this congregation and friends. On this 85th anniversary of the Bethlen Kata Women's Society I have been asked to say a few words in English too. The group was formally organized on the 19th of February, 1928 in order to gather Hungarian women in Montreal into a Christian fellowship, to provide opportunities for constructive activities within the church, to visit the sick and help the poor and needy in the community. The devoted Bethlen Kata women served as hostesses of this congregation for 85 years. The founding members are no longer with us but their spirit and devotion lives on. In 1988, their 60th anniversary, the Bethlen Kata merged with the younger women's groups. Ever since, their successors, the New Bethlen Kata, continue to work diligently for the church so that the Hungarian United Church can continue to be a haven for Hungarians and friends in Montreal and beyond. Through the years, the Bethlen Katas raised and donated considerable

sums for the construction of this building and the purchase of its furnishings such as this lovely carpet in the sanctuary and the organ. Their efforts spurred the congregation to completely clear the mortgage on the building in 1973, their 45th anniversary, approximately only 20 years after the construction began. Eventually, the kitchen was renovated several times, the organ was replaced as well as the roof. Today, together with The Reformed Brotherhood (i.e. "The Men's Group"), The Fellowship Circle and the recently organized Csillagosveny, the women of the Bethlen Kata continue to work hard to raise funds for the maintenance and renewal of our building and congregation as well as our Hungarian heritage. God grant that they continue their fine work of supporting the church, preserving and promoting the faith, language and tradition of our Hungarian Reformed Forerunners through worship, hospitality, fellowship and good works. This we ask as we give thanks to God for their wonderful achievements. � Mary Feher �

Dear Friends, Its time for our annual report of 2012 once again, as usual the year went by very quickly. As in the past years, our members were always available to all our church groups that required help, either for help at a Hurka Kolbasz times or Bazaar Baking time, Sunday coffee or wherever help was needed. One of our more notable times when we had an Ecumenical Services, Dr. Attilla Kocsics was a speaker. We adorned the church with flowers with our other groups for Palm Sunday, Easter and Christmas. To honor Betty Kara on her 90th Birthday, we presented her with flowers and her birthday cake, sadly we also had a Remembrance reception for Irma Benyak who passed away. Also from our Csiga Makers, Julia Kiss and Keith Howe, our ladies also give memorable donations. We are so very lucky to have our men helping us at our Csiga making days, which is every second Monday. Our amazing chef is Manci Maraz. We celebrate all the birthdays come and please join us. I would like to wish each and every one a Happy and Blessed New Year and a huge thank you to all the people that have helped us with baking etc. and Francesca for booking orders for Csiga and noodles. Thank you all.

Dear Friends, Once again it’s time for our year end of 2013 report. Apart from our congregation lunch, we had the March 15th celebration lunch, which was served by the husbands of the Csillagosveny who did a remarkable job, and they seemed to enjoy doing it. Speaking of the Csillagosveny, they have been doing a great job with a lot of the meals that we used to be able to do. Under Paula Gyorgy’s capable hands, everything is running smoothly. They also hosted the Bethlen Katas 85th anniversary lunch this past year, which we greatly appreciated. The Bethlen Kata still helps when needed at times for the Fellowship Group and always the Ferfi Kor at the Kolbasz and Hurka making, and the picnic. They also help with the preparation of the meals. We lost Irma Benyak this year. We had a remembrance for her birthday with coffee and cake. We also lost Elizabeth Kovacs, and in July we lost our son and Angie’s brother, Ron Jr. The ladies did a great job at setting up his reception, for that our family is ever grateful. Thank you. We still make csiga every second Monday, and we thank Francesca Szep for taking care of the orders and selling them. She is an amazing woman, and we would also like to thank all the men and the women that come to help us. We have to thank Manci Maraz for the amazing meals she makes for us and for all who bring baked goods for dessert occasionally. We usually have birthdays that we celebrate and we are thankful for the everyone that helps. So please join us. We ended the year with our Christmas bazaar and would like to thank each and everyone for their baked donations, monetary donations and their help. Thank you. We wish each and everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. May God bless you all. Irene Tombs, President Elizabeth Deak, Vice President Elizabeth Burgoyne, Treasurer Carol Nyisztor, Auditor


Dear Friends, Another year has passed, and we look to the future with hope and optimism. This past year was a busy year for the ladies. We started the year with the congregational lunch, followed by the Valentine's day dinner and dance with the Men's Group. We hosted the March 15th Hungarian National Holiday with a buffet, then came the Easter Hurka & Kolbasz making as usual, the ladies were there to help again. The ladies did the kitchen duties at the Fellowship Circle bake sale in April. This was followed by the Bowling Banquet, and at the end of May we did the Confirmation lunch on Pentecost Sunday. We were asked by our Conference Minister, Rev. Douglas Stewart, if we would host a meeting for United Church conference ministers from all parts of Canada in June. We did, served muffins and biscuits for coffee breaks, served lunch and dinner too, but they enjoyed their meal so much, that lot of our home made noodles were also sold to them. In August of course came the the church' s annual garden picnic. The ladies were there again to help. In September we started the csiga and noodle making once again, but instead of every second Monday, we had to gather

every week, as the demand for them did not stop. Hopefully we will be doing it every second week again this year. Of course came the Octoberfest again, as usual the ladies were there to help. Then once again it was Hurka & Kolbasz time, and we also had our Bazaar in December. Then we took a break. Our ladies could not do all this on our own, we have the men working the machines, especially Ron Tombs, Jimmy Nyisztor, Steve Gazdag and Mike Toly. Our great cooks in the kitchen always make a hot meal with dessert. On any given day there are also ladies that bake, so that there is always dessert to have had, and of course we try to remember all the birthdays. So if you can, please come and join us. Last but not least, our gratitude goes to You all that give us your support, donations and baked goods year after year, we are eternally grateful. Every penny we make does go to the upkeep of our beloved church. Thank You, and may you all have a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year! God bless you all! Irene Tombs president Elizabeth Deak vice president Elizabeth Burgoyne treasurer

THE BETHLEN KATA LADIES SOCIETY (Ref.Hirado 1988.3.) ‘Today we have reached another milestone and are filled with gratitude that the small group, who were very young when they banded under Christs banner, are still together – working and striving to show an example and to pass on to our beloved children and grandchildren our cherished Hungarian traditions’ It was with these words that Mrs. Mihaly Palko, one of the Bethlen Kata’s oldest members, opened the 35th Anniversary celebrations. Another 35 years have passed and those, who in 1963 participated as membersof the Young Women’s Fellowship Circle or the Junior Circle, today are all Bethlen Katas. They too are older and grayer and slower of step as they look back on the intervening years of joint efforts, work, joy, even sorrow as they take over the Bethlen Kata banner. On September 20th, they will be pausing at another milestone – 70 years – to give thanks for all that has gone before. They will be giving thanks to the Lord for the formation of the little group in 1928 and for sustaining it in the years between.

They are filled with gratitude for all those beloved who worked tirelessly and unselfishly for the Bethlen Kata. They remember with thanks and pride the founding members, the leaders and all those who have returned to their Heavenly Father. They look to the future with hope and trust as they regard the young growing up in this congregation and those who have come from far‐off places, all who, in spite of differences, are joining forces to carry on the religious and cultural traditions of the Bethlen Kata. It is fitting at this time to remember Bethlen Kata ‐ who was she? About her tragic life suffice it to say that when she lost all those she loved she found her solace and strength in her religion and her Savior. She supported more than twenty congregations on her properties and thought not only of the present but also of the future generations. She was looked upon as a guardian angel, doing good for all, but especially for those of the faith. She died in 1759 and her epitaph, which was written by Peter Bod, reads as follows: "Under this stone lies the body of Countess Bethlen Kata Her spirit is in the hand of Christ In whom she believed and whom she Regarded as her Saviour. " Julie Varga Nyisztor


Az Imádság : Védelmező Erős Pajzs, gr. Bethlen Kata Elöljáró Beszédje szerint,: "Dicsértessél oh én Istenem, én Szabadítóm, én Vigasztalóm, hogy engemet elveszni nem hagytál."