Economic crisis… and St. Alberto Hurtado

Alberto Hurtado, a Chilean Jesuit, died in 1954 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Though he lived only 51 years, a Jesuit for 29, his legacy continued to grow, spurred on by his dedication to providing strong Catechesis, education and leadership training to the poor rural communities across Chile. On October 23, 2005 - less than 50 years after his death - he was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI, becoming the second saint of Chile.

Today, St. Hurtado’s influence continues even in a mostly secularized society. The metro station at the heart of Santiago, the Chilean capital, is named after him and the shelters (“Hogar de Cristo”) and social services he started have become a network that have served millions since their founding.

At a time when the majority of clergy in Chile were foreigners, Hurtado saw the mission of the Church through the eyes of a native Chilean. He knew the most pressing needs that the Church could address, and the congregations that were underserved. As legend goes, he bought an old green pickup truck and used it to monitor the streets of Santiago, providing protection and assistance to all he could find.

This legend has endeared Father Hurtado to new generations who admire people who serve those who most often go unserved. They look at his shelters, his community activism, his hand in the formation of unions that protected workers and the vulnerable, and his teachings born not only from study, but from experience. They see all of that and in him they see the best of Chile.

At a time in history when so many around the world suffer from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Alberto Hurtado is an inspiration to those who would devote themselves to the service of the most neglected.

Our journalist Luca Pirola talks about this saint of our times with Chilean Jesuit, Fr. Marcelo Gidi. Father Marcelo is currently teaching Canon Law at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles public relations.

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