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The hearthstone of Christ

(Post by Fabio Cittadini) Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga was born January 22, 1901 in Viña del Mar, Chile. His father died when he was just four years old, due to the accumulation of debt that weighed on the family. So Albert was forced to be hosted in turn by the family.

Being an excellent student, he managed to get a scholarship through which he was able to attend the Jesuit College in Santiago. Upon graduation, he asked to be received into the Society of Jesus, who however advised him to devote himself to his mom and his brother. While he was working during afternoon and evening, at morning he was attending lessons at the Faculty of Law of the Catholic University of Santiago. In 1923 he graduated and so in August of that year he entered the novitiate where he began his long journey that took him first in Argentina, then in Spain who left in 1931 due to the suppression of the Society of Jesus. He emigrated to Belgium and Leuven, in 1933, where he was ordained priest. He returned to Chile in 1936 and he taught Religion at the College of St. Ignatius and Pedagogy at the University and Seminary.

In 1944, during a course of spiritual exercises, he felt inspired to create an home for the homeless. Thus, step by step, thanks to the generosity of many people, he created “El Hogar de Cristo” (The hearthstone of Christ). In 1947 he founded the Chilean Trade Union Association. Father Albert died August 18, 1952 of a pancreatic cancer. He was beatified by John Paul II in 1994. Father Hurtado testifies as in the cross and economic hardship under the action of the Spirit we can understand God’s will and gradually achieve it.

Alberto was poor when he became a priest, but led by the Spirit and with the help of young people educated by him, he was able to help many other poor people of Santiago, in particular abandoned children. This is the amazing endeavor that God could make with us! (see here the book of Fabio Cittadini)

Simone Venturini


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