Mengenal St. Alberto Hutardo, Jesuit Orang Kudus dari Chile

St. Alberto Hurtado dari Chile

HARI ini adalah pesta St. Alberto Hutardo (1901-1952), seorang Jesuit dari Chile yang selama hidupnya sangat aktif di berbagai karya.

Ia adalah seorang pendamping orang muda, Direktur Catholic Action, pemberi retret, dan penulis yang juga mendirikan Majalah Mensaje untuk memperkenalkan ajaran sosial gereja.

Dan tentu saja dia adalah aktivis sosial ulung yang sungguh mengalami Kristus dalam diri orang-orang miskin. Komitment dan cintanya kepada orang miskin melahirkan “Hogar de Christo,” rumah singgah bagi orang miskin. 

Pater Alberto dinyatakan kudus pada tahun 2005 oleh Paus Benediktus XVI. Teladan hidupnya dikutip dalam Kongregasi Jenderal 36 sebagai “a fire that kindles other fires.”

Pater James Martin SJ mengatakan bahwa St.Alberto layak menjadi pelindung para “multi-taskers.”

Sedikit riwayat hidup

Jesuit Orang Kudus dari Chile (Ist)

Today one of the foremost goals pursued by the Society of Jesus is social justice. Saint Alberto Hurtado is revered in his home country of Chile for his work on behalf of the poor and workers there.

Alberto Hurtado was born in Viña del Mar, Chile, in 1901. His father died when he was just four years old, leaving only his mother to care for him and his brother, and forcing the family to sell their house.

He was accepted to the Jesuit College in Santiago on a scholarship, where he volunteered in a poor parish and school on weekends. After graduating in 1918 he attended the prestigious Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where he studied law. He obtained his degree in 1923, having put his studies on hold for obligatory military service, and then joined the Jesuit noviciate rather than pursue a career in law.

After graduating in 1918 he attended the prestigious Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where he studied law. He obtained his degree in 1923, having put his studies on hold for obligatory military service, and then joined the Jesuit noviciate rather than pursue a career in law.

As part of his studies to become a Jesuit, Hurtado took courses first in Cordoba in Argentina, then in Barcelona and Belgium, before he was ordained a priest in 1933.

Returning to Chile in 1936, Hurtado took up the position of professor of religion at Colegio San Ignacio and of Pedagogy at the Catholic University of Santiago, as well as becoming involved in teaching catechism to the poor.

That same year he published an article outlining the problems in the Church in Chile, due to lack of priests, and poor religious education of catechists. He took this further in his book Is Chile a Catholic Country? released in 1941, the same year he was appointed national director of the Catholic Action youth movement.

As well as critically assessing the role and the Church and how it operated in Chile, Hurtado had long been an active worker in the area of social justice, and indeed this is what he is best known for. In 1944, he established a shelter for homeless children wandering the streets of Santiago, called Hogar de Cristo, or ‘Home of Christ’.

This proved successful, and was followed up by a home for men and for women, before developing further again, with the founding of rehabilitation centres. Hurtado purchased a green pickup truck with which he patrolled the streets in search of people in need.

Continuing his campaign for social justice, in 1947 Hurtado set up the Chilean Trade Union Association, in order to train union leaders and instil a Catholic ethos in the labour unions of the country.

He continued his work until he fell ill from pancreatic cancer, and died in 1952 a national hero. Still cherished in his home country, Hurtado’s works are being continued long after his death. He was beatified in 1994 and canonised in 2005, by Pope Benedict XVI.

Ini ditulis oleh Pater Michael O’Sullivan SJ dari Irlandia.

Sekedar memberi gambaran refleksinya, maka di bawah ini saya kutipkan satu bab.

A Testimony

An autobiographical reflection, written in November of 1947.

On my path I have encountered one of those ardent apostles, always joyful despite their weariness and failure. I asked him for the secret of his life. A bit surprised, he opened his soul to me. 

Here is his secret:

You ask me how I balance my life; I ask myself the same thing.  Day by day I am more and more devoured by work: correspondence, the telephone, articles, visits; the grinding gears of work, congresses, study weeks, conferences promised because of an inability to say “no” or the desire to do some good; budgets to meet; decisions that must be taken in the face of unexpected events. 

The race to see who will arrive first in this or that urgent apostolate.  I am often like a rock that is beaten on all sides by the towering waves. 

There is no way out but up. For an hour, for a day I let the waves thrash against the rock; I do not look toward the horizon, I only look up to God. 

O blessed active life, all of it consecrated to my God, all of it dedicated to others, its very excess leading me to find myself resorting to God! He is the only possible escape from my concerns, my only refuge.

There are black hours that come as well.  The attention pulled continually in so many directions that there comes a moment when one can do no more: the body cannot follow the will.  Many times it has obeyed but now it cannot… The head seems empty and aches, ideas do not connect, imagination doesn’t function, and memory seems incapable of remembrance.  Who has not known hours like these? 

Nothing is left but to resign oneself for days, months perhaps even years.  Here obstinacy is useless: surrender is demanded; and so, as in all difficult moments, I escape to God, I give Him my whole being and my love for His fatherly providence, though I lack even words to speak with Him. 

O and how I have understood His goodness even in these moments! In my daily work it was Him I was seeking but it seems to me that although my life was already surrendered to Him, I did not live sufficiently for him… but now yes… in my days of suffering, I have only Him before my eyes, only Him in my exhaustion and my inadequacy. 

New pain awaits me in these hours of inadequacy. The work entrusted to me, gravely threatened; my collaborators also worn out by their efforts; those who should assist us intensify their misunderstanding; our friends turn their backs on us or discourage us; the masses who had given us their confidence, now take it away; our enemies swell with victorious pride against us; the situation becomes desperate; materialism triumphs, all our projects for Christ fall apart.

Have we been deceived? Haven’t we been workers for the cause of Christ? Will the Church in our time, at least in our country, resist so many blows? But faith still directs my gaze toward God. Surrounded by darkness, I nonetheless escape toward the light. 

I feel filled with almost infinite hope in God. My concerns are dispelled. I abandon them in Him. I entirely abandon everything in His hands. I belong to him and He cares for all and for me. 

My soul reappears at last, tranquil and serene. The worries of yesterday, the thousand concerns that “the kingdom come” and even the great torment of only moments before that one’s enemies might triumph… everything gives place to the tranquillity of God, ineffably possessed in the most spiritual part of my soul. 

God the immoveable rock against whom all waves break in vain. God the perfect splendour that no stain can tarnish; God the definitive victor, is within me. I reach Him with all plenitude at the end of my love. All my soul is now in Him, in a moment, as though carried off in Him. I am bathed in his light. He penetrates me with His strength. He loves me.             

Without Him I am nothing. I simply would not exist. The optimism that had abandoned me during those days when evil seemed to triumph, has now returned. The Church is victorious in each of her children. 

The Church of God is established and triumphs through the heroic work of its saints; through the prayers of its contemplatives; through the humble acceptance of the work of nature by mothers and by the tenderness and faith realized in their homes; through the education of those who teach and the docility of those who listen. 

Through long hours in factories, on ships, in the sun and rain in the fields; through the work of the father who fulfills his daily duty. 

Through the resistance of landlords, politicians and heads of unions to the temptations of money, the dishonest act that would enrich them; through the sacrifice of the tubercular widow who must leave her small children to unite herself to the crucified Christ; through the energies of the Young Christian Workers who know how to remain joyful and pure in the midst of egoism ad corruption; through the offerings of the poor who give what is needed…

The Church at every moment constructs and triumphs.  

No, this is not the time for despair. God uses even His enemies to establish His Kingdom. For their will is not totally evil nor is their reason totally obscured. When they see and desire what is good, which they certainly do, they also join with us in the construction, they are instruments of God. 

For the Christian the situation is never desperate. By the light we receive from on high, by the gift that each gives of himself, we construct the Church. Its triumph will not be achieved until after many harsh battles. 

Thus far spoke my friend. Now he is silent as though discomfited at having opened up his soul so profoundly. I sense that he has nothing more to tell me, but I have understood his lesson: If I consistently find him happy, always courageous, it is not because there is an absence of  difficulties, but because in the midst of them, he knows how to escape to God. His smile and his optimism come from heaven.


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