Hungarian nun to be beatified for saving Jewish lives during World War II

A Hungarian nun who took active part in saving the lives of dozens of Jews during World War II will be beatified by the Catholic Church, officials said Monday.

Sara Salkahazi was killed by the Arrow Cross - the Hungarian allies of the Nazis - on Dec. 27, 1944 for hiding Jews in a Budapest building used by her religious order, the Sisters of Social Service.

Salkahazi was taken along with several other occupants of the home and shot, their bodies falling into the Danube River and never recovered, AP reports.

The beatification rite will take place Sept. 17 at Budapest's St. Stephen Basilica.

"Sara Salkahazi heroically exercised her love of humanity stemming from her Christian faith," said Cardinal Peter Erdo, who will celebrate the beatification mass. "This is for what she gave her life."

Salkahazi was born in the city of Kassa in 1899, at the time in Hungary but now known as Kosice and part of Slovakia.

The beatification will be the first in Hungary since 1083, when Hungary's first king, St. Stephen, was beatified along with his son, St. Imre, and St. Gellert, an Italian bishop who had a key role in converting Hungarians to Christianity.

Changes introduced by Pope Benedict XVI again allow beatification rites to be held around the world, instead of just in the Vatican, as was the norm for centuries.

Church officials highlighted Salkahazi's modest middle-class roots, saying she will be first Hungarian to be beatified who is not royalty or a member of the country's aristocracy.

Before taking her religious vows in 1930, Salkahazi worked as a bookbinder, journalist and newspaper editor.

Salkahazi's deeds were recognized in 1972 by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial.