This weekend Argentina’s Catholic Church beatified Father Jose Gabriel Brochero known as the “gaucho priest” who along with his mule brought the word of God to the people of the pampas.
“He stayed alongside the people and encouraged many to perform the spiritual exercises. He travelled kilometres and kilometres through the mountains on his mule, named ‘Uglyface’ on account of her unfortunate appearance. He even ventured out in the rain, and was courageous. At the end of his life, Blessed Fr. Brochero was blind and a leper, but full of joy, the joy of the Good Shepherd, the joy of the merciful Shepherd,” Pope Francis said of Fr. Brochero.
Fr. Brochero was born in 1840 and served the parish of St. Albert and the people of the city of Cordoba. He served at time when there were no roads, mail or phones. His travels on his mule to bring the people of Cordoba the gospel are legendary. He is most remembered for his aid to the sick and dying during the cholera epidemic of 1867.
Over 150,000 people honored him yesterday by attending the beatification ceremony, many dressed in traditional gaucho attire. He died in 1914 of leprosy.
Beatification is the first step toward sainthood, though not all who are beatified become saints. Fr. Brochero will now be referred to as “blessed”.