The Founding of Our Lady of Dallas
Our Lady of Dallas, a monastery of the Cistercian Order within the Congregation of Zirc, was founded by refugees from Hungary. The exodus began immediately after World War II and the Soviet takeover of Hungary, when several monks were sent abroad, searching for a suitable place to found a new Abbey. Soon, the Communist authorities disbanded the then-flourishing Cistercian mother-abbey of Zirc (pronounced "ZEER-ts"), seizing control of its land, schools, and parishes. Of the 215 displaced monks, more than thirty fled the country, seeking refuge in other European abbeys. Some escaped alone, others in small groups. One large group left immediately before the suppression of the monastery in 1950; another upon the failure of the anti-Communist revolution of 1956. The community of Zirc also continued a clandestine existence in Hungary during the suppression, and many of the remaining Cistercians lived lives of heroic fidelity, routinely enduring harassment and intimidation. More than a few received imprisonment and torture for their efforts.
The refugee monks spent years in dispersion, scattered across Western Europe and in the United States. In 1954, several of them were invited by Thomas Gorman, Bishop of the Dallas-Fort Worth Diocese, to come to Texas and help found a new Catholic university, the University of Dallas. This initial group was periodically joined by later waves of Hungarian Cistercians, and in 1961 was established as an independent monastery under the local patronage of Mary: "Our Lady of Dallas." The monastery founded Cistercian Preparatory School, modeled after the Cistercian schools of Hungary, in 1962.