Böjte Csaba

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Böjte Csaba
Böjte Csaba.png
Born (1959-01-24) January 24, 1959 (age 65)
Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania
  • Monk
  • Author
  • Founder and director of the Saint Francis Foundation of Deva
  • Hungarian Heritage Award
  • Person of the Year 2004, from the Magyar Hírlap
  • Aphelandra Award
  • Sütő András award
  • The Pannon Role Model Foundation award
  • Zajzoni Rab István Award
  • The European Citizen Award
  • Makovecz Imre Award
  • Pro Cultura Hungarica Award

Böjte Csaba (born January 24, 1959) is a Hungarian-Transylvanian Franciscan monk, author, humanitarian, and director and founder of the Saint Francis Foundation of Deva Romania[1]. His foundation works to rescue homeless orphans in Transylvania[2] [1]. The foundation provides food, housing, and education to children living in poor conditions, a large number of whom suffer from extreme poverty and chronic food insecurity. There are currently over 2500 children living in the Saint Francis Foundation's homes and shelters, and hundreds more are a part of the organization's live-in care system.[3][2]

Life and work

Böjte Csaba is a Transylvanian-Hungarian monk born in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, a city in Transylvania with a large Hungarian-speaking population[1]. Böjte trained to be a car mechanic, but then decided to become a miner in the remote Harghita Mountains for a year. He made this abrupt change in career in order to test his willpower and spiritual strength in preparation for becoming a priest.[1][4][5]

Böjte's father was a poet and lived in Transylvania during the Ceausescu dictatorship, under which he was sentenced to serve seven years in prison due to the contents of one of his poems[5]. After serving four and a half years, Böjte's father escaped the prison where he had been tortured, and he died less than two years after his escape due to the injuries he sustained[5][6]. His father's death was a turning point in Böjte's life, and it was then he decided to become a priest.[1][7][5]

Böjte joined the Franciscan Order in 1982, under the Ceausescu dictatorship, and his induction took place in secrecy.[4] He completed his priestly studies in Gyulafehérvár and Esztergom, and was ordained in 1989. [1]

Working as a priest in different places across Transylvania, Father Böjte settled in Deva, where he took several homeless orphans off the streets, and under his protection.[3] Father Böjte broke the lock off of an abandoned Franciscan Monastery, which had not been used in decades, and moved the homeless children in. Romanian authorities opposed this, repeatedly ordering Father Böjte to leave the monastery, under the pretense of trespassing[5][3]. Father Böjte responded that the Romanian police would have to physically remove the children if they wanted them to leave the premises, which they did not do. [3]

Word of Father Böjte's makeshift orphanage spread across Deva, and later the rest of Transylvania and Hungary as well[3]. Besides providing the orphans with the basic necessities of life, Böjte also provided education for the orphans, which included religious and moral instruction. Many of the orphans under Father Böjte's protection went on to attend university.[8]

Since opening the first orphanage in 1993, Father Böjte has helped house, feed, and educate over 6000 orphans through the Saint Francis Foundation, with over 2500 children currently under the Foundation's care.[2][9]

Böjte has published numerous books, articles, and essays. Alongside his duties with the Saint Francis Foundation, he continues to hold masses, and speak at various engagements worldwide.[2]

The orphanages

Following the illegal occupation of the abandoned monastery which was transformed into a makeshift orphanage, Father Böjte and his orphans renovated the building room by room. They also built their own kindergarten, primary school, and administration building[3]. Father Böjte and the Saint Francis Foundation purchased two apartment buildings near the monastery, using them to house orphans in foster families[3], generally allocating 8-10 children to a foster parent. These family groupings consist of children of different ages, so the older children can take on extra responsibilities in the home, and help look after the younger children[8]. Many of the rescued children go on to learn trades and attend university, while others stay behind helping raise children in the orphanage[8]. The number of children in Saint Francis Foundation orphanages continues to grow, as more and more children are being brought under its care from increasingly remote and rural regions of Transylvania.[10]

Saint Francis Foundation orphanages have now been established in cities, towns, and villages all across Transylvania[3]. The majority of the Foundation's budget comes from donations, which is often used to purchase land and real estate to found new orphanages in order to deal with the increasing number of children under the Foundation's care.[10] The Foundation operates with the support of volunteers, who help care for the children, as well as cook, clean, and build.[11] The Saint Francis Foundation is not funded or supported by the Romanian Government. However, in 2005, the Hungarian Government provided the foundation with significant funding, and it donated 15 million forints for the construction of a sports field for the orphanage in Szováta.[12]


Awards and recognition

  • Hungarian Heritage Award (2002)[13]
  • Person of the Year 2004, from the Magyar Hírlap (The award was received in 2005)[14]
  • Aphelandra Award (2005)[15] - Humanitarian Award
  • Sütő András award (2007)
  • The Pannon Role Model Foundation award (2008)[16]
  • Recipient of the first "Council of the Hundreds" Man of the Nation award in 2008[17]
  • Zajzoni Rab István Award (Transylvania, Brassó province, 2010)
  • Median Cross of the Hungarian Republic (2010)
  • The European Citizen Award (Civi Europaeo Praemium) awarded by the European Parliament in June 2011[18]
  • Giesswein memorial medal awarded by the Giesswein Sándor Memorial Office (2012)
  • Hungarian Freedom Medal (2015)
  • "Happy Children, Happy Families" Award, from the School of Responsible Parenting (2018)
  • Pro Cultura Hungarica Award (2019)[19]
  • Makovecz Imre Award (2019)

In 2014 a civil initiative in Hungary collected signatures in an effort to award Böjte Csaba the Nobel Peace Prize.[20]

Films about Böjte Csaba

  • Csillagösvény "Path of Stars" 1. (Dextramedia, 2004)[21]
  • Utazások egy szerzetessel "Journeys with a Monk" (Fekete Ibolya, 2005)[22]
  • Csillagösvény "Path of Stars" 2. (Dextramedia, 2006)[21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 2010 Erdélyi magyar ki kicsoda. Horváth, Andor., Ágoston, Hugó., Kántor, Lajos., Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség. ([3-ik. kiad.] ed.). [Bucharest]: Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség. 2020-04-06. ISBN 978-973-0-07256-3. OCLC 624430830.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Father Csaba Böjte – Budapest Forum for Christian Communicators". Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "Szent Ferenc Alapítvány | Alapítványunk története" (in magyar). Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Böjte Csaba testvér". www.nyitottakademia.hu. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Karikó, Éva (2018). Ki a szívét osztja szét – Böjte Csaba élete és munkássága az édesanyja szemével. Budapest, Hungary: Helikon Kiado. ISBN 9789634791904.
  6. "Ki a szívét osztja szét – Csaba testvér élete és munkássága az édesanyja szemével". Magyar Kurír (in magyar). Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  7. "Böjte Csaba - Szerzők - Helikon". web.archive.org. 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Megosztom, Törődés és jóság örökségbe 2018 07 07 17:49. "Így zajlik az élet Böjte Csaba otthonaiban". NOOL (in magyar). Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  9. "Böjte Csaba: A pap, aki 6000 gyermek apja". she.life.hu (in magyar). Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  10. 10.0 10.1 http://www.szentferencalapitvany.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Csaba_testver_Nagy_Csaladja.pdf
  11. "Szent Ferenc Alapítvány | Önkéntesség" (in magyar). Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  12. "Átadták a Dévai Szent Ferenc Alapítvány szovátai gyermekotthonának sportpályáját". Kormányzat. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  13. "Eddigi díjazottak | Magyar Örökség Díj". www.magyarorokseg.hu. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  14. "Böjte Csaba, a dévai gyermekotthon alapítója vehette át az Év embere díjat a Magyar Hírlaptól". web.archive.org. 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  15. "::::::::::Aphelandra Alapítvány:::::::::::". www.aphelandra.hu. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  16. "inforadio.hu". web.archive.org. 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  17. "erdély ma - egy szebb holnapért". web.archive.org. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  18. Böjte Csaba Brüsszelben átvette az Európai Polgár Díjat Archiválva 2011. június 27-i dátummal a Wayback Machine-ben, Mediatica.ro, 2011. június 21.
  19. "Magyar Hírlap • Pro Cultura Hungarica díjat kapott Böjte Csaba". web.archive.org. 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  20. Index (2014-02-03). "Böjte Csaba: Zsákutca a Nobel-díjért kampányolni". index.hu (in magyar). Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Csillagösvény". dextramedia.hu (in magyar). 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  22. "Fekete Ibolya: Utazások egy szerzetessel". filmhu - a magyar moziportál. Retrieved 2020-04-07.

External Links

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