Thought for the Day – 18 August – The Memorial of St Alberto Hurtado

Thought for the Day – 18 August – The Memorial of St Alberto Hurtado

” Hogar de Christo”

Hogar means “hearth” or “home.” Hurtado wanted to welcome the poor into “Christ’s home.”

From all accounts Hurtado was an intensely busy man.   In 1946, he bought a green pickup truck to better bring at-risk children living on the street back to the shelters.   He called them his patroncitos, his “little bosses.”   In addition to his work with Hogar, his retreats and outreach to youth, he wrote several books and found the journal Mensaje, a Catholic magazine designed to highlight the social teachings of the church and which is still proudly published by the Chilean Jesuits.

Despite his hectic schedule, Alberto understood the need for the balance between prayer and work, striving to be a “contemplative in action.”   On the one hand, the activist is the one who at every moment recognises “the divine impulse.”   On the other, prayer should not encourage a “sleepy sort of laziness under the pretext of keeping ourselves united with God.”   I like to think of him as the patron saint of multitaskers.

By the age of 50, though, Alberto seemed to his friends worn out.   After a physician-ordered vacation, he returned to discover that he had pancreatic cancer.   The end would come quickly and painfully.   Yet during his suffering he was often heard to say, “I am content, O Lord, I am content.”   He died at age 51.

His funeral, in the Church of St. Ignatius in Santiago, was filled with so many of the poor who venerated Padre Hurtado that many of his close friends had to remain outside. Alberto Hurtado was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.   All of Chile celebrated the man who the country’s president called one of Chile’s “founding fathers.”

In Santiago, near the original Hogar, is a shrine to Alberto, where many come to pray. Inside is his beat-up green pickup.

Let us too ‘build a home for Christ’!

St Alberto, Pray for us!

st alberto - pray for us 2

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 18 August – The Memorial of St Alberto Hurtado

One Minute Reflection – 18 August – The Memorial of St Alberto Hurtado

‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’...Matthew 25:40

REFLECTION – “Christ roams through our streets in the person of so many of the suffering poor, sick and dispossessed, and people thrown out of their miserable slums; Christ huddled under bridges, in the person of so many children who lack someone to call father, who have been deprived for many years without a mother’s kiss on their foreheads…Christ is without a home!   Shouldn’t we want to give Him one, those of us who have the joy of a comfortable home, plenty of good food, the means to educate and assure the future of our children?”…St Alberto Hurtado S.J.

christ roams through our streets - st alberto hurtado.jpg

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, teach us to follow Your Son in all things, to give and not to count the cost. Open our eyes to the distress and sadness around us. What we have may we learn to share with others, so that we too may be called “good and faithful servant” which St Alberto lived to fulfil in each moment of his life. St Alberto Hurtado, pray for us, alberto - pray for us

Posted in JESUIT SJ, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 18 August

Our Morning Offering – 18 August

Prayer of St Alberto Hurtado

Lord, help me to speak the truth before the strong
and not lie to gain the applause of the weak.
If You give me fortune, don’t take happiness away from me.
If You give me strength, don’t take reason away from me.
If You give me success, don’t take humility away from me.
If You give me humility, don’t take dignity away from me.
Help we always see the other side of the coin.
Do not let me blame others of treason
for not thinking like me.
Teach me to love people as myself
and to judge myself as others do.
Do not let me fall into pride if I triumph
nor in despair if I fail.
Rather, remind me that failure
is the experience which precedes triumph.
Teach me that forgiving is the grandest for the strong
and that revenge is the primitive sign of the weak.
If You take away my fortune, leave me with hope.
If You take away success, leave me with the strength
to triumph from the defeat.
If I fail people, give me the courage to ask pardon.
If the people fail me, give me the courage to forgive.
Lord, if I forget You, don’t forget me.

Here’s the Spanish:

Señor, ayúdame a decir la verdad delante de los fuertes
Y a no decir mentiras para ganarme el aplauso de los débiles.

Si me das fortuna, no me quites la felicidad.
Si me das fuerza, no me quites la razón.
Si me das éxito, no me quites la humildad.
Si me das humildad, no me quites la dignidad.

Ayúdame siempre a ver el otro lado de la medalla.
No me dejes inculpar de traición a los demás
por no pensar como yo.
Enséñame a querer a la gente como a mí mismo
y a juzgarme como a los demás.

No me dejes caer en el orgullo si triunfo,
ni en la desesperación si fracaso.
Más bien recuérdame que el fracaso
es la experiencia que precede al triunfo.

Enséñame que perdonar es lo más grande del fuerte,
Y que la venganza es la señal primitiva del débil.

Si me quitas la fortuna, déjame la esperanza.
Si me quitas el éxito, déjame la fuerza para triunfar del fracaso.

Si yo fallara a la gente, dame valor para disculparme.
Si la gente fallara conmigo, dame valor para perdonar.
Señor, si yo me olvido de Ti, no te olvides de mí.

prayer of st alberto hurtado

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 August 2017 – Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga S.J. (1901-1952)

Saint of the Day – 18 August 2017 – Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga S.J. (22 January 1901 at Vina del Mar, Chile – 18 August 1952 at Santiago, Chile of pancreatic cancer) Lawyer, Priests, Apostle of the poor and especially of poor/street/orphaned children, Teacher, Catechist, Writer, Apostle of the Youth and of the Homeless Apostle of Social Justice – Fr Hurtado was Beatified by John Paul II on October 16, 1994 and Canonised on 23 October 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI at Rome, Italy.   Patronages – Chile, poor people, street children, social workers.

ALBERTO HURTADO CRUCHAGA was born in Viña del Mar, Chile, on 22 January 1901;  he was orphaned when he was four years old by the death of his father.   His mother had to sell, at a loss, their modest property in order to pay the family’s debts.   As a further consequence, Alberto and his brother had to go to live with relatives and were often moved from one family to another.   From an early age, therefore, he experienced what it meant to be poor, to be without a home and at the mercy of others.

He was given a scholarship to the Jesuit College in Santiago.   Here he became a member of the Sodality of Our Lady and developed a lively interest in the poor, spending time with them in the most miserable neighborhoods every Sunday afternoon.

When he completed his secondary education in 1917, Alberto wanted to become a Jesuit but he was advised to delay the realisation of this desire in order to take care of his mother and his younger brother.   By working in the afternoons and evenings, he succeeded in supporting them; at the same time, he studied law at the Catholic University.   In this period, he maintained his care for the poor and continued to visit them every Sunday.   Obligatory military service interrupted his studies but once he fulfilled this duty he went on to earn his degree early in August 1923.

On 14 August 1923 he entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Chillán  . In 1925 he went to Córdoba, Argentina, where he studied humanities.   In 1927 he was sent to Spain to study philosophy and theology.

However, because of the suppression of the Jesuits in Spain in 1931, he went on to Belgium and continued studying theology at Louvain.   He was ordained a priest there on 24 August 1933 and in 1935 obtained a doctorate in pedagogy and psychology.   After having completed his Tertianship in Drongen, Belgium, he returned to Chile in January 1936.   Here he began his activity as professor of religion at Colegio San Ignacio and of Pedagogy at the Catholic University of Santiago.   He was entrusted with the Sodality of Our Lady for the students and he involved them in teaching catechism to the poor.   He frequently directed retreats and offered spiritual direction to many young men, accompanying several of them in their response to the priestly vocation and contributing in an outstanding manner to the formation of many Christian laymen.

In 1941 Father Hurtado published his most famous book:  “Is Chile a Catholic Country?” The same year he was asked to assume the role of Assistant for the Youth Movement of the Catholic Action, first within the Archdiocese of Santiago and then nationally.   He performed these roles with an exceptional spirit of initiative, dedication and sacrifice.

In October 1944, while giving a retreat, he felt impelled to appeal to his audience to consider the many poor people of the city, especially the numerous homeless children who were roaming the streets of Santiago.   This request evoked a ready and generous response.   This was the beginning of the initiative for which Father Hurtado is especially well-known:  a form of charitable activity which provided not only housing but a home-like milieu for the homeless: “El Hogar de Cristo”.


icon - hogar de cristo

By means of contributions from benefactors and with the active collaboration of committed laity, Father Hurtado opened the first house for children;  this was followed by a house for women and then one for men.   The poor found a warm home in “El Hogar de Cristo”.   The houses multiplied and took on new dimensions;  in some houses there were rehabilitation centers, in others trade-schools and so on.   All were inspired and permeated by Christian values.  During all his work he drove a battered old ruck – green it was – it became a little icon of his arrival received with joy and love, wherever he went.

Fr. Hurtado's memorable green pickup truck
Fr Hurtado’s memorable green pickup truck

In 1945 Father Hurtado visited the United States to study the “Boys Town” movement and to consider how it could be adapted to his own country.   The last six years of his life were dedicated to the development of various forms in which “El Hogar” could exist and function.

In 1947 Father Hurtado founded the Chilean Trade Union Association (ASICH) to promote a union movement inspired by the social teaching of the Church.

Between 1947 and 1950, Father Hurtado wrote three important works:  on trade unions, on social humanism and on the Christian social order.   In 1951 he founded “Mensaje”, the well-known Jesuit periodical dedicated to explaining the doctrine of the Church.

Pancreatic cancer brought him, within a few months, to the end of his life.   In the midst of terrible pain, he was often heard to say, “I am content, Lord.”

After having spent his life manifesting Christ’s love for the poor, Father Hurtado was called to the Lord on 18 August 1952.

From his return to Chile after his Tertianship to his death, a matter of only fifteen years, Father Hurtado lived and accomplished all the works described above.   His apostolate was the expression of a personal love for Christ the Lord;  it was characterised by a great love for poor and abandoned children, an enlightened zeal for the formation of the laity and a lively sense of Christian social justice.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Sains – 18 August

St Agapitus the Martyr
St Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga –
Bl Antoine Bannassat
St Crispus of Rome
St Daig Maccairaill
Bl Domenico de Molinar
St Eonus of Arles
St Ernan
St Evan of Ayrshire
St Firminus of Metz
St Florus of Illyria
Bl Francus of Francavilla
Bl Gaspar di Salamanca
St Helena
St Hermas of Rome
St John of Rome
St Juliana of Myra
St Juliana of Stobylum
St Laurus of Illyria
St Leo of Myra
Bl Leonard of Cava
St Maximus of Illyria
Bl Milo of Fontenelle
St Polyaenus of Rome
St Proculus of Illyria
Bl Raynald of Ravenna
St Ronan of Iona
St Serapion of Rome

Massa Candida: Also known as –
• Martyrs of Utica
• White Company
Three hundred 3rd century Christians at Carthage who were ordered to burn incense to Jupiter or face death by fire. Martyrs. Saint Augustine of Hippo and the poet Prudentius wrote about them. They jumped into a pit of burning lime c 253 at Carthage, North Africa.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Martyred Carmelites of Carabanchel Bajo – 8 beati:
Martyrs of La Tejera – 4 beati:
• Blessed Adalberto Vicente y Vicente
• Blessed Agustín Pedro Calvo
• Blessed Angelo Reguilón Lobato
• Blessed Atanasio Vidaurreta Labra
• Blessed Aurelio García Anton
• Blessed Celestino José Alonso Villar
• Blessed Daniel García Antón
• Blessed Eliseo María Camargo Montes
• Blessed Eudald Rodas Saurina
• Blessed Fermín Gellida Cornelles
• Blessed Francisco Arias Martín
• Blessed Francisco Pérez y Pérez
• Blessed Gregorio Díez Pérez
• Blessed Jaume Falgarona Vilanova
• Blessed José María Ruiz Cardeñosa
• Blessed José Sánchez Rodríguez
• Blessed Joseph Chamayoux Auclés
• Blessed Liberio González Nombela
• Blessed María Luisa Bermúdez Ruiz
• Blessed Micaela Hernán Martínez
• Blessed Nicomedes Andrés Vecilla
• Blessed Patricio Gellida Llorach
• Blessed Rosario Ciércoles Gascón
• Blessed Santiago Franco Mayo
• Blessed Silvano Villanueva González
• Blessed Vicente María Izquierdo Alcón