Well-known Franciscan monk Csaba Böjte (61) was diagnosed with coronavirus a couple of days ago. “There is a war going on in my body, not just in the outside world,” Böjte wrote on November 16 in a Facebook post announcing that he has just tested positive for COVID-19.
The ethnic Hungarian monk is a prominent figure of Transylvanian social and ecclesiastical life, widely appreciated for his tireless work as a priest, author and humanitarian. The Saint Francis Foundation that Böjte established in 1992 in the central Romanian city of Déva (Deva) provides housing and education to children from a poor socioeconomic background — most of them are orphans and/or homeless. In 1992, he opened his first orphanage by breaking the lock off a Franciscan monastery that had been abandoned for decades. Romanian authorities repeatedly ordered Böjte to leave. Nevertheless, he stayed and told the police that they would have to evict the children he had given shelter to in the monastery building, which they eventually refused to do.
His orphanage has since grown into a nationwide network, which currently cares for 2,500 children. The foundation has also placed another several hundred children in homes with foster parents.
With regard to the symptoms of the infection, Böjte wrote on his Facebook post that he coughs quite a lot and feels more tired than usual. “It hurts me that I cannot celebrate mass, as I cannot speak without coughing, not even for a short hour,” the monk noted. He also added that back in 2016, he had held a series of lectures on the issue of peace, and recordings of these will be broadcast every day at 18:00 on the Facebook page of the Saint Francis Foundation (Facebook/Magnificat.ro) until he gets better. “I promise that with God’s help, we will restart our live daily prayers as soon as possible,” Böjte concluded.
Title image: The Franciscan monk regrets that he cannot celebrate mass and hopes that he will soon be able to pray together with believers
Source: Csaba Böjte/Facebook