Fr. Imre Zsoldos, SVD

Fluent in 22 languages, Fr. Imre Zsoldos, SVD, the founder of the French Department of Fu Jen University, died of illness on the morning of November 20, 2009 at the age of 78. His funeral was held on December 5, 2009 at Fu Jen Universiry Chapel presided by Archbishop of Taipei, Bishop John Hung, SVD, and was buried at the Catholic cemetery in Shan Hsia.

Fr. Imre was born in Hungary in 1931. During the Second World War, he climbed the iron curtain to Austria and later on travelled to France and the US for his studies. In 1964 he came to Taiwan to participate in the setting up of French Department at Fu Jen University, and in 1965 after the creation of the Department, he served as its first dean. Although he already reached retirement age in the 1998, he still served in the department until he was struck by illness in March 2009. Prompted by faith and his passion for education, he had dedicated his 45 consecutive years with love and tolerance to foster many outstanding French talents in Taiwan.  

During the Solemn funeral mass, his nephew presented three items which have very special meanings for Fr. Imre; soil taken from his parents graves in his hometown, a piece of iron curtain cut when he fled communist regime, as well as fragments of the Berlin Wall which symbolized the collapsed of the communist power. Unable to attend his parents’ funerals in Hungary, he asked his nephew to bring the soil from his parents’ grave yard to be buried together with him here in Taiwan.

Short Profile:

1931.4.16: Born in Hungary.
1948-1950: Joined the SVD, Novitiate at Kősze.
1953-1956: Philosophy and Theology.
1956.12.3: Climbed the Iron Curtain to Austria.
1956-1960: Studied Theology in Vienna
1960.5.26: Ordained priest in Vienna.
1960-1964: Sudied French in SorbonneUniversity.
1964.8.4: Arrived in Taiwan at the age of 33.
1967.9.17-1975.2.28: After his studies in the US, was made dean of French Department.  
1996.7.25: Received Teaching Achievement Award from French Prime Minister.
1998.10.23: Received Grand Cross Medal award from Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary for his long-term efforts of promoting Hungarian culture in Taiwan.
2004: Won the International Prize Poet Laureate.