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Pope Francis

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A look at the life of Chilean engineer Mario Hiriart and his cause for beatification

2012-06-24

For years, priest Carlos Cox has looked into the life of Mario Hiriart and he is convinced that the Chilean man lived a saintly life.

He was born into a small family in the city of Santiago in 1931. Even though his family wasn't very devout, he decided to take his faith more seriously in school. Thanks to a priest, he met the Schoenstatt movement, where he learned to exploit his talents to help others and ultimately, to lead them to God.

CARLOS COX DIAZ
Vice-Postulator
 
"Interestingly, many from his very generation came to be the founding fathers of Schoenstatt. He obviously considered it as well, but he knew that he had a different vocation. His vocation was to show the spirit of God to others through his work as a consecrated layman.”

When he was 20 years old, he had a powerful encounter with God, during a nature excursion.  It was there, that he realized his vocation was to be a consecrated layman of the Brothers of Mary, which was founded by prisoners of Nazi regime.

CARLOS COX DIAZ
Vice-Postulator in Chile

"Because it was born in a concentration camp, the idea is that the world has to be renewed from Christ. We could not face a world without people who bring the message of Christ by means of a modern language, a new culture, and a  new civilization.”

He began working as an engineer at a Chilean company that only hired engineers and economist of high prestige. Mario Hiriart, was one of them. Even though he was successful at a very young age, he thought he could have a greater impact in a university.
CARLOS COX DIAZ
Vice-Postulator in Chile

"He was hired at a company that was known as the engine of Chilean development during the 50's and 60's. But, his vocations led him to help young people where going through the process of growth and maturity.”

So, he left that job and became a full time professor at the Catholic University of Chile, where his enthusiasm and smile are still remembered. However, he had many health problems and his full commitment to educating the youth, sometimes created tension between the Schoenstatt movement.

In 1964, he traveled to the U.S  to speak with the movement's founder, Father Joseph Kentenich. During his trip he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died a day after his meeting with at the age 33.

His life was recorded and those documents are now at the Vatican, where they're being analyzed by a team of theologians who are looking into his cause for beatification. A young engineer who despite his failing health and challenges is remembered as someone who was always smiling.


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