Mario Hiriart, a layman with the makings of a saint
July 15, the day when venerable Mario Hiriart died
The church has recognized his example for our times and declared him venerable. Mario was a layman and an outstanding Chilean engineer, consecrated as a Schoenstatt Brother of Mary.
Fr. Eduardo Aguirre
July 15, 2021
Mario Hiriart: Venerable Servant of God
The cause for the beatification of Mario Hiriart in its first diocesan phase was officially opened in Santiago, Chile on October 20, 1998. It was closed on September 2, 2004, and all the documentation was sent to Rome to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The second stage, the Roman phase of the process, lasted several years and finally, on February 21, 2020, Pope Francis declared Mario Hiriart “Venerable Servant of God”. This means that the Church considers that Mario:
- Lived, on a personal, family, professional and apostolic level, allowing himself to be inspired always by the Holy Spirit.
- Was always guided by faith, driven by charity, and sustained by hope.
- Practiced the cardinal virtues along with many others in an exemplary and heroic manner.
- Developed the Christian virtues in a constant, faithful and joyful manner according to his state of life and in accordance with his responsibilities. All this amid the challenges and difficulties of daily life and the environment in which he had to function.
- Lived it all in an extraordinary way and to a greater extent than any good Christian would in the same circumstances.
Mario Hiriart: The makings of a Saint
The Church also recognizes and affirms that Mario has the “makings of a saint” and that his life is exemplary for every Christian, especially for the laity, throughout the world.
Currently, only the authentication of a miracle through Mario’s intercession is needed for him to be declared Blessed. Then, with a second miracle, he could be canonized and celebrated as a saint in the universal Church.
The Church’s recognition of Mario’s merits for our times offers us an outstanding model of lay life amid the world. It also conveys a great incentive to aspire to the ideals and commitment to the mission, according to the Schoenstatt charism.
Mario Hiriart lived the Covenant of Love in depth, maturing in his love for Mary, to whom he gave himself with a deep, warm, and intimate filial love, to the point of offering his life. He was deeply rooted in the Shrine of Bellavista, which became his spiritual home and the source of graces in his struggle for sanctity.
As expressed above, Mario fully identified with Schoenstatt’s charism and assumed it as his life mission. This led him to consecrate himself as a layman within the Brothers of Mary, seeking at every step to be an instrument in the hands of the Blessed Mother.
Lay and apostolic holiness in today’s world.
As a result, Mario Hiriart gained a clear perception of the challenges of his time and of the Church’s mission to evangelize today’s culture. He fully identified with Father Kentenich’s prophetic vision, which affirms that the present time requires lay saints, who by their actions and commitment, sanctify society and culture.
As he learned more about Schoenstatt’s spirituality and pedagogy, his admiration for the Founding Father grew – whom he met personally in 1948 and during Father Kentenich’s following visits to Chile – and whom he came to consider a charismatic, prophetic figure for our times. To the extent that he became personally attached to him, he recognized himself as his disciple and spiritual son.
Shortly before Mario’s death in Milwaukee, Father Kentenich commented to Father G. Boll: “Mario is an extraordinary man, I would say that he is the ideal of the manly man, the one we want to form in Schoenstatt; clear in intelligence, strong in will, with depth in the affective life and above all, with a depth of soul, penetrated by the grace of God.”