(By Francesca Ambrogetti)
(ANSA) - Buenos Aires, September 13 - Josè Brochero, the
gaucho-priest known for his mule-back travels across Argentina
in the 19th century wearing a poncho and a local hat, is set to
be beatified on Saturday in an emotional ceremony expected to be
attract some 200,000 faithful in the village where his Catholic
mission was located, near the city of Cordoba.
Brochero was the fourth of 10 brothers.
He dedicated most of his life to the Catholic Church and to
spreading the word of Christ in the north and centre of
The village where he spent much of his working life was
originally called Villa del Transito, and has been since renamed
Villa Cura Brochero to reflect the religious roots of the future
Brochero was known as a man that was very close to the poor
and the needy, like the current pontiff, his compatriot Pope
He died from leprosy in 1914, after having shared a
traditional drink, mate, with a group of people suffering from
The disease had made him become blind and deaf.
Mate is a traditional Argentine herbal drink, prepared in a
Drinking mate and sharing the straw through which it is
drunk with friends is an important social ritual in Argentina.
Aside from assisting the poor and the needy in everyday
situations, he become a very well-known figure in the Catholic
Church and society was a whole after spending much time and
energy assisting the dying in a mass cholera epidemic in Cordoba
The ceremony on Saturday will be presided over by Cardinal
Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for Saints'
Causes, who is travelling from the Vatican specifically for the
"The gaucho-priest was indefatigable when travelling in the
remote mountainous areas around Cordoba to bring the word of the
Catholic church to the people, as well as when he used to help
build houses, churches, schools, post offices, dams, roads and
telegraph networks" said Monsignor Guillermo Karcher, an
official of the Secretariat of State.
"He was a man well ahead of his time, that understood the
need to put himself at the service of the people and to help
them in their moments of need".
The postulator of the cause for Brochero's sainthood is
Argentine lay-woman Silvia Monica Correale, a member of the
Congregation for Saints' Causes.
"This beatification was decided upon by Pope Benedict XVI
and it will be a gift for the Argentine pontiff," Correale said.
Brochero had in fact set up a spiritual home in his mission
village near Cordoba inspired by Saint Ignazio Di Loyola, the
founder of the Jesuit order to whom the current pontiff belongs.