- Alberto Hurtado
name=Saint Alberto Hurtado
death_date=death date and age|1952|8|18|1901|1|22|mf=y
Roman Catholic Church
caption=San Alberto Hurtado
Santiago de Chile
John Paul II
attributes=Jesuit robes, an old green van
patronage=Chile, poor people, street children, social workers
prayer="Rejoiced, Lord, Rejoiced."
prayer_attrib=Alberto's prayer during his battle with cancer
Saint Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (born Luis Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga on
January 22, 1901 Viña del Mar, Chile- August 18, 1952, Santiago, Chile), popularly known in Chileas Padre Hurtado ( _en. Father Hurtado), was a Chilean Jesuit priest, lawyer, social worker and writer, founder of the " Hogar de Cristo" movement. He was canonized on October 23 2005by Pope Benedict XVI, becoming his country's second saint.
Academic and Religious Formation
With his father's death in 1905 (when Hurtado was only 4), the family found itself to have significant financial difficulties, forcing his mother to start selling off the land owned by the family.cite web|url = http://www.canonizacion.cl/ingles.html|title = A brief Biography of Father Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, S. J.|accessdate=2008-01-09] Thanks to a scholarship, he managed to study at the prestigious all-boys Jesuit school of St. Ignacio, Santiago (1909-17). From 1918 to 1923, he attended the
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, studying in its LawSchool and doing his thesis on labour law.
Rather than starting a career in law, Hurtado entered the
Jesuit novitiatein 1923, was trained in Philosophyand Theology in Barcelona, Spain (from where, in 1932, he was expelled with his Spanish colleagues) and completed his Theologyin Leuven, Belgium(1932-34) where he was ordained priest on August 24th, 1933. While pursuing his theological studies, he worked on a doctorate in Psychologyand Pedagogyat the Catholic University of Leuven.
Life and work
Right from the early days of his studies in "labour law," and before becoming a Jesuit, Hurtado had his mind and heart set on tackling
social issuesand problems. Before returning to Chile, he visited social and educational centers in Germany, France, Belgiumand the Netherlands.
Back home, in 1936, Hurtado's ministry expanded to the pastoring of the Chilean poor, especially disadvantaged children, teenagers and young adults. He was a
religionteacher and later educated future teachers in the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Spiritual formationwas also important: he gave regular retreats according to the Spiritual Exercises(of St Ignatius of Loyola) and helped them in the process to discover their vocations in the service of Christ.
In 1940 he was appointed diocesan director of the
Catholic Actionyouth movement and the very next year, its national director (1941-1944). That same year, in 1941, Hurtado's sociology-oriented mind led to his authoring of the book "Is Chile a Catholic country?" Revealing a few shocking realities as it was, the book raised a storm among conservative Catholicsin Chile, who even accused him of being a Communist.
Keeping in mind his own origins, and ever grateful for the help he (and his family) had received when they were in great difficulties, Hurtado was led to active social involvement. His strong faith was transformed into action with his founding of an organization similar to the present-day
Boys and Girls Clubin the United States. His shelters, called Hogar de Cristo (Christ's Home), took in all children in need of food and shelter, abandoned or not. He also purchased a 1946 green pickup truck and monitored the streets at night to help those in need that he could reach. His own charisma brought him many collaborators and benefactors; the movement was a huge success. The shelters multiplied all over the country; it is estimated that between 1945 and 1951 more than 850,000 children received some help from the movement.
Labour movement and Social Doctrine of the Church
In 1947, Hurtado entered the
labor movement, shepherding Chilean workers. Inspired by the Social teaching of the Church he founded the Chilean Trade Union Association, meant to train leadersand instill Christian valuesin the labor unions of his country. For them he wrote the three books "Social Humanism" (1947), "The Christian Social Order" (1947) and "Trade Unions" (1950).
To disseminate the social teaching of the Church and help Christians reflect and act on the serious social problems faced by the country he founded in 1951 the periodical called "Mensaje". He himself published numerous articles and books on labor issues in relation to the Roman Catholic faith.
Deeply spiritual Hurtado was untiring in his work for the
workersand the youth, combining intellectual reflection and practical actions. Ever optimistic and joyful he had also an attractive personalitythat brought many people to Christ and the Church, young and old, intellectuals and manual workers.
One day in 1952, Father Hurtado was stricken with intense pain and rushed to hospital. He was diagnosed with
pancreatic cancer. Day after day the media kept the country informed of Hurtado's state of health: before his deathhe had become a national hero. True to the faith he had been professing all through his life, he accepted gracefully what was ineluctable. After a brief battle with the illness, he died in Santiago.
Beatification and Canonization
Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga is one of the most popular and cherished Saints in his country,
Chile. An indication of his lasting popularity was the presence on the Piazza San Pietro, on the day of Hurtado's canonization, of a very large contingent of Chilean people, led by the highest authorities of the country - starting with President Ricardo Lagosand some high-ranked Chilean politicians who actually were Father Hurtado's students.
The Hogar de Cristo he founded still exists, and through its fight for social justice, it has become one of the biggest charity groups in Chile. There are also an avenue and a subway station in Santiago (the closest to his main shrine, which also houses the Hogar's headquarters) named after him. Also, there's a school called Colegio Padre Hurtado and Juanita de los Andes, obviously because of him and another Chilean Saint,
Teresa of the Andes.Xavier High School in New York, New York renamed a hall and Seattle Universityhas a Residential Learning Community named after him.Jesuit High School in Portland,OR opens its empty classrooms in the evenings to an ESL program called The Hurtado Center.
During the 1990s there was a short TV series dedicated to him, named "Crónica de un Hombre Santo" (English: "Chronicles of a Holy Man"). Four actors portrayed Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, from his childhood to last years; popular
telenovelaactor Cristián Campos played adult Father Hurtado during his ministry.
* "¿Es Chile un pais católico?" (English: "Is Chile a Catholic country?"), Santiago (Chile), 1941.
* "Humanismo social" (English: "Social humanism"), Santiago (Chile), 1947.
* "El orden social cristiano en los documentos de la jerarquía católica" (English: "Christian social order in the documents of the Catholic hierarchy"), 2 vol., Santiago (Chile), 1947.
* "Sindicalismo: historia-teoría-práctica" (English: "Syndicalism: History-Theory-Practice"), Santiago (Chile), 1950.
* CID, F.D.: "El humanismo de Alberto Hurtado S.J.", Santiago (Chile), 1975.
* LAVIN, A.: "El P.Hurtado, amigo y apostol de los jovanes", Santiago (Chile), 1978.
* GILFEATHER, Katherine A.: "Alberto Hurtado, a man after God's Heart", Santiago (Chile), 2004.
* Padre Hurtado's [http://www.canonizacion.cl Official Canonization Website] (Spanish)
* [http://www.puc.cl/hurtado "Padre Hurtado" Documentation and Studies Center] (Spanish)
* [http://www.padrehurtado.com/08_homeingles.htm Padre Hurtado: Some of his writings and his biography] (English)
* [http://www.padrealbertohurtado.cl Fundación Padre Hurtado] (Spanish)
* [http://newsletter.jesuit.ie/e_article000481928.cfm?x=b60cFw8,b45bP7D6,w The making of a saint] (English)
* [http://www.hogardecristo.com/navegacion/sitio_ingles/institucion/institucion.htm Hogar de Cristo] (English)
Bartolome Blanco Marquez, Youth leader of Catholic Action and martyrof the Spanish Civil War
Universidad Alberto HurtadoA Chilean Jesuit University named after him.
Notes & references
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