José Vandor (Cuba)

Beginning of diocesan process on October 8, 2003. Vice postulator: Fr Rafael Giordano.

Became 'Vandor' when he came to Cuba

Father Vandor was born in Dorog, Hungary, October 29, 1909. His parents were Sebastián Wech and Maria Puchner. On becoming a Cuban national, he changed his name to Vandor. He did his early schooling with the Franciscans. Answering God's call, in 1927-28 he did his Salesian novitiate in Peliföldszentkereszt. He made his perpetual profession as a Son of Don Bosco on August 13, 1932. He studied theology in Turin (Italy) and was ordained a priest there, in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, on July 5, 1936.

Sent to Cuba after ordination as a Salesian priest in 1936

That same year (1936) he was sent to Cuba, to Guanabacoa. He was there as headmaster and chaplain until 1940, when he became rector of the Agricultural School in Moca in the Dominican Republic. He was just 31 at the time. 

Director of novices

He was known for his wisdom and prudence and for this reasons was chosen as Director of Novices. In 1946 Fr Vandor moved as administrator to the College of Arts and Trades in Camagüey.

Our Lady of Mt Carmel - school and parish

On December 9, 1954 he was put in charge of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Santa Clara, which had been looked after till then by the Passionists. He was appointed to oversee the building of the school of Arts and Trades. When the school opened, Fr Vandor was appointed rector, a post he held until 1961, the year in which all schools passed into the hands of the Minister for Education. He was named rector of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In 1965, he became its first parish priest when it was became a parish.

"One of the most lovable, dedicated and noble souls of the clergy of Villaclara"

It is not easy to summarise Fr Vandor's moral stature. The Bishop wrote: "With Fr Vandor's death, the Salesian Congregation has lost a Son, the diocese an exemplary priest, the faithful a beloved father" and we can add: "Villaclara has lost an honoured citizen, who identified with the Corporation's educational concerns." In fact, the journalist Antonio Diaz Vázquez, in a piece entitled "a lamp that burns and shines brightly" wrote: "He was one of the most lovable, dedicated and noble souls of the clergy of Villaclara". 

"Fr Vandor can be compared to St Francis de Sales for his patient docility, his prudent dedication, his enlightened wisdom as a spiritual director and to St John Bosco for his apostolic dynamism, his love of poor youth, his spirit of faith, his serene cheerfulness and his cordial manners".

He died on October 8, 1979.