Did you know that in the mid 1920s, Sr. Margaret Slachta spent time away from Hungary, traveling in the US and Canada? She was struck by the many public displays of Christmas trees and gatherings of the public celebrating Christmas. She also wrote that in America the Baby Jesus didn't bring the Christmas tree, Santa Claus did the honors! Sr. Margaret realized that she had a deep desire that Christmas be celebrated not only by families, but also that the poor and the homeless be given the opportunity to celebrate the birth of the Savior.
Upon returning to Hungary as a Deputy of the 1st District, Margaret lobbied for an "Everybody's Christmas Tree." In conjunction with other groups, the tradition was started on Christmas Eve. “Everybody’s Christmas Tree” traveled from district to district among the poor; the people gathered around singing carols and receiving gifts.
More than 20 years later, in the Winter 1945 issue of the DOVE, there was one article titled “A YEAR AGO” which caught my eye - the daily diary of events kept by the Sisters in Hungary during the terrible siege of Christmas time in 1944.
"lt is the l9th of December, 1944. The bombs are falling like hail... We are completely surrounded by German soldiers who worry us, but the good Lord has led us safely through so many dangers we do not fear. Just a few minutes ago a bomb exploded at our side, yet the good Lord protects us...The days are heavy and the nights are worse...what is yet to come?" The diary of events shows dates from Dec. 21, 1944 to Jan. 3, l945.
December 5th reads, "The Baby Jesus did not send a Christmas tree to the world this year... The Christmas tree is the gift of the good God to his good children ...The ‘Everybody’s Christmas tree’ has disappeared"...
Dec. 24, 1944. "At noon today the only ‘Everybody's Christmas tree’ that we are able to have this year was taken out into the city...The Sisters who went with the tree were not able to return home because the Russians invaded unexpectedly."
The Sisters continued the tradition under the worse of circumstances. These are the important works of the SSS then, and now,