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Centenary of Father Esteban Gumucio SSCC (Brs)

The 3rd of September 2014 will be the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Father Esteban Gumucio sscc. Born in Santiago de Chile in 1914, he entered the Congregation in 1932, and had been a student of one of our schools. He professed his first vows in 1933 and was ordained priest in 1938. Having been a teacher, provincial, novice master, priest and pastor in different areas, he died of pancreatic cancer on 6 May 2001, a Sunday of the Feast of the Good Shepherd that year. He was already 86 years old.

His reputation as a “holy man” accompanied him throughout his life. Inside the Chilean province, he has always been acknowledged as “one who has best embodied the charism of the Congregation among us”. In the Chilean Church he has left an indelible mark that has been appreciated more and more after his death. His numerous writings –with an “eye of a poet and a heart of pastor”, according to his own words– continue to witness the gift of his life, committed to the poor, close to the suffering, defending the dignity of human life, witnessing Jesus to the end.

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, archbishop of Santiago, carry on the reputation of holiness of Father Esteban among the Christian people, and "because the people have beatified him first" –according to the words of the bishop– decreed the opening of his cause of beatification and canonization in early 2010. Previously, in 2008, his body was transferred to the parish of San Pedro and San Pablo that he founded 50 years ago. Over his tomb we can read these words as a summary of the purpose for his life: “the eyes fixed on Jesus” (Hebrews 12: 2).

During the same year of 2010, the diocesan inquiry about the "heroic virtues" was iniciated and concluded. The new archbishop, present Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, closed the investigation in January 2011, and sent all documentation of the process to the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints. This year (2014) the institution has approved of the diocesan investigation in its entirety, in view of the next steps of the process of beatification and canonization.

In our SSCC Congregation, the figure of Father Esteban Gumucio is known, revered and evoked more and more. His person does not only "beautify our Congregation" –as the current superior general stated– but his evangelical witness is encouraging our lives, transcending his country, our Congregation and the Church herself.