The story behind the Chidalek Family gift of the Statue of
Saints Cyril and Methodius
John and Anna Chidalek were from Papradno, Slovakia. They lived in Whiting, Indiana and moved to Toto in 1926. They became members of Ss. Cyril and Methodius because Anna knew little English and the priest there could understand her.
They had five children: Anthony, Alphonse, Joseph, Edward, and Anna. They were all baptized, received First Holy Communion and were confirmed in the church.
In 1988, Ed and his sister Anna made a trip to Slovakia. In mentioning their trip to Monsignor Witte, he said it would be nice to have a statue of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, as they were the patron saints. Ed and Anna could not find any, so through their cousins, they commissioned a wood carver to carve a statue from native wood. The Slovaks were still under Communism at the time, so this was quite a risky thing to do.
In 1989, a cousin, Monika Balusikova, about 20 years old, came to Indiana for a visit and to bring the statue. Her father built a wooden trunk for her and she hid the statue under her belongings. She traveled from Papradno to Budapest, Hungary. They were still under Communism. Through fate and a lot of prayers, she was late getting to the airport, so they let her go through without checking luggage. This was very lucky as they could have detained her. From there she flew to Chicago. This is the statue in the church now so you can see this was a hard thing to do. She could only speak a little English.
We picked her up in Chicago and brought her to North Judson. When we brought the statue to be placed in the church, she was carrying it up the steps. Monsignor Witte offered to help her but she told Ed, "I brought it this far, I'll take it the rest of the way to the church." It was dedicated on August 13, 1989.
Also gifted to the parish by the Chidalek family were two lithographs of Ss. Cyril and Methodius: one that hangs in the church and one on a wall in the church parlor. The gift of the statue of Ss. Cyril and Methodius was given in memory of the Chidalek Families by the Chidalek children and families.
Submitted by Donna Chidalek (2006)
Methodius and Cyril