CHILE, Maria Fischer with María Teresa Ramírez •
On 13 May, when Chile like many other countries celebrated the Lord’s Ascension into heaven, Guillermo Tagle, a great Chilean Schoenstatt founder quietly departed into the Lord’s embrace. He was a companion of Mario Hiriart, and he and his wife, Cristina “Kiki,” were members of the first Chilean Family Federation course. —
Through Kikí, who actively participates on the schoenstatt.org team with her unique way of commenting on articles from an organic and prophetic point of view, we knew about his illness’ progression, which took his memory bit by bit, but not his dignity and his giving of self to the Lord and the Blessed Mother.
Schoenstatt is really an experience of the heart
Personally I knew about Gullermo and Kikí Tagle in 2000, when I joined the prayer chain started by their children, praying through the intercession of Mario Hiriart, since the accident that left both of them injured, leaving Kikí in a coma for weeks. Recently, Kikí commented: “We had the accident that left me in a coma for forty-two days and Mario Hiriart helped me. Despite the fact that two doctors presented a report that it was a miracle, a third expert said that the treatment given to me while I was in critical condition could have facilitated the recovery…so it cannot serve for the cause, but for many, it was his miracle.” For me, it was. And it was more than a miracle two or three years later upon encountering this famous, founding couple in the Original Shrine– and seeing them as humble, simple, open and enthusiastic like a pair of youngsters. It was the beginning of a professional friendship in the area of communications and a personal friendship in everything.
They are Mario Hiriart’s “living miracle” and it is to him who they attribute their healing after a terrible auto accident several years ago. The prayer chain – the first one carried out in Schoenstatt at a global level via Internet -has made history.
Among the many things that can be said about Cristina Tagle (her friends call her Kikí), this affirmation must be made: “I am a schoenstatt.org fanatic, a real addict! Everyday I check to see if there is something new!” For her, every visit to schoenstatt.org is “a discovery of the fruits that Schoenstatt has generated in the different places where it is present.”
In her native Chile, Cristina Tagle was one of the first editors of Vinculo magazine. How did she assume that task? “When some new task appeared during a meeting, I always volunteered,” she said laughing. “It is that as a person of sanguine temperament I love every new task.” The magazine was born during preparation for Fr. Kentenich’s Centenary. “At the beginning, I would not have done anything without Octavio Galarce’s help. He was my right hand that taught me how to do things. He was always waiting for new reporters, always waiting for contributions, and always working until the last minute, writing two whole nights to meet the deadline.”
Guillermo Tagle added that according to his experience, what is lacking in many Schoenstatters is really feeling part of a family, or more precisely, feeling part of a large family. He said to be able to read about what is happening in other parts of the Family helps greatly to create a feeling of family.
“Many, especially intellectuals, remain stuck largely on the concept that one must touch on subjects in order to learn intellectually what Schoenstatt is; while Schoenstatt is really an experience of the heart, of uniting with the Father, with the Blessed Mother, it is the living Covenant of Love.
“To be a living force we have to love one another among different communities,” Kikí said. However one can only love if one knows about the other – and vice versa – in that way one grows in the other. “For me, this is the most valuable contribution of initiatives such as schoenstatt.org.”
“How was it possible for all of us to be enkindled with the highest ideals?”
Fr. Kentenich was another important subject. It is worthwhile to review this exchange:
“When we met Father, we even laughed a little at the Sisters’ nervousness: when Father arrived, how they ran after him!” Guillermo Tagle commented, and Kikí added: “We thought: why is this man so important? For us, he was strangely dressed, wearing a hat. I recall when he spoke in German, he forgot that it had to be translated, so then the Sisters and Fathers hurriedly translated. Because of this, a person was almost distracted a little by those things, but Father’s words always reached each person in a different way.”
When they were in Milwaukee, and they deepened in the stories, they asked themselves how he was able to transmit hope, idealism, in this situation. A situation that led them to ask themselves again about their own experience: “How was it possible for him to enkindle all of us with the highest ideals? How did he have the joy that transmitted those ideals? We did not realize it at that time, but there was something in him, because we continued with enthusiasm and we formed groups,” Guillermo Tagle said.
Kikí narrowed it down: “How was it that Father’s message marked us so much that we never doubted. In all that Schoenstatt life of so many years, during the exile and afterwards, it never, never crossed our minds to doubt the truth of what he said. Schoenstatt was prohibited for a long time in Santiago. It never crossed our minds to doubt. No! We knew that we were going to the change the world with him.”
They never doubted…never, KIkí affirmed: “Father’s prophecy is true. Although we do not see it become a reality yet but it will become a reality. He has the best response for the present time, and we are the instruments. We have a mission that is more and more necessary and more urgent. One clearly sees that God disposes, the Blessed Mother supports him and the only thing he asks is a minimum of good will.
Guillermo is now fully in that experience of the heart, that living Covenant of Love. He intercedes for us, especially for the members of his beloved Kikí’s team, in order to offer many that experience of the heart.
Summary of the life of a great one of the covenant
Today we celebrate Guillermo Tagle’s Easter, a lawyer by profession, father, trainer, prayer warrior, and evangelist. He was born in April 1931, the son of Jorge Tagle Castillo and Raquel Castillo Astaburuaga. He was baptized Guillermo Albert after his two grandfathers; he was educated in the faith by his mother and father, and then by priests of the German School, where he carried out all his schooling. At the age of 17, he arrived at the Catholic University Law School, where he learned about the Schoentsatt Movement, joining the founding Youth group in Chile, the Knights of the Holy Grail. He was taken by the enthusiasm of a short priest, with a long beard, who only spoke German; he accepted the challenge of transforming the world from within the Church. He met Kikí in Schoenstatt; she became his wife in 1955, and they had one daughter and eight sons, who are all present.
He began to practice his profession as solicitor for the parliamentarian, Victor García Garzena; then he joined the law office of Luis Varas. This was until his as a condition for his marriage his future father-in-law made that he join Banco de Chile as a lawyer. He was attached to the Bank for forty-five years. He made a career a prosecutor, being its chief counsel, and interim prosecutor since January 1983. Later that year, he was appointed by government authorities as associate deputy administrator, a position he held until 1996, when he became director until 1999. He was president of Banchile Mutual Funds, and for more than ten years, he was vice-president of Andino Leasing. In his forty-five years at the Bank, he left a mark as an executive who was concerned by the development of people. Early on, the workers chose him as a representative, who at that time was called the Business Committee, and then he was vice-president of the Association of Officials. He constantly promoted the development of conditions to make work and family compatible. He was a sponsor of the business oratory, which later became the Bank chapel. There are many businessmen who still remember that – that the eye of a good banker – Guillermo Tagle gave the backing that allowed them to get out of the 80’s economic crisis.
In his mission of evangelizing and promoting the imitation of Christ is all the aspects of life, work was not enough for him. For many years, he and Kikí were collaborators at St. Vincent de Paul Parish training couples and youths. More than a hundred couples received their talks for marriage preparation. People came from everywhere, and at some point in time they received this instruction in our home. It was a house of welcome for the young people who attend the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth Leaders’ School. It was literally an open house for vocation until delinquency obliged it to close it a little. He was a speaker for parents in all of Santiago’s schools; he led new couples’ groups in Schoenstatt. He formed some of the first groups in Iquique and La Paz, Bolivia. He was a member of the Christian Social Union of Businessmen. In 1982, the Archbishop asked him and Kikí to preside at the National Commission of the Family. From there, with Fr. Jaime Fernández, they established the Week of the Family, preparing work and prayer guidelines. Schoenstatt grew and Guillermo and Kikí traveled throughout Chile motivating people in different cities where the Movement was starting. Later they joined the Family Missions in the different places of Chile. But above all, his mission to evangelize landed in the schools. He was president of the Parents’ Center of St. Gaspar School, and he joined the Federation of Attorneys of the Catholic Schools in the violent years of the 70’s. At that school, they convinced the Precious Blood priests to establish a School Community, where the parents played a key role in the educational process and in which the teachers, parents, and administrators joined with equal importance. Their fame transcended when some children entered the Divine Word School the guiding principle of the time conditioned them to lead the ministry of attorneys. There they created the Reflection Groups, an institution that was exported to other schools. They were busy years, motivating groups, training leaders, preparing work material. These groups still exist; they are inspired in an important part in the doctrine and style of the Schoenstatt Movement. When the children finished school, along with a group of Schoenstatt friends, they decide to establish the Mount Tabor and Nazareth Schools, to train leaders with Fr. Kentenich’s pedagogy. Guillermo presided as director since it was formed and for more than twenty years, then he remained as its honorary president for life.
But it was not all work and prayer. Guillermo Tagle Castillo was always an athlete. A long time ago, he practiced boxing. Already married, he played baby soccer almost every week, with his dear friends Sergio González, Cedric Moller, Guillermo Pérez Cotapos, Rodrigo Ossandón, Alvaro González, and sometimes Fr. Raúl Hasbún, and several others. He was part of a soccer team of the guardians of Saint Gaspar, and at the age of 35, he and Kiki decided that they would embrace tennis as a family. Without being vey good, they played tennis well into adulthood. They established memorable family matches between the Cotapos and Tagles. The peak of tennis matches was the Tagle Cup tournaments in the Country Club where the grandchildren became the main players. But he not only played, he enjoyed being an announcer, official fan and master of ceremonies at the awards ceremony of the January tennis championship in Zapallar.
Moreover, he was a great father. He was concerned about our studies, that we be the best in the class, motivating us to assume roles in the course guidelines since we were young. He was always attentive to helping with homework. He arose early helping prepare breakfast and taking us to school everyday. Above all, he taught us to pray as a family, entrusting everything that we did and every difficult moment to the Blessed Mother. He taught by example, most of all, in charity. Since they established themselves in La Florida, they sponsored a family of about ten members who lived in the most extreme poverty. Introducing them to the faith, they were baptismal godparents of almost all the children, he financed them with school supplies, and he accompanied them in celebrations and misfortunes. Thus he made us participate with so many people in all that they did. One example was going out to buy sheets of pressed cardboard after a wind and rainstorm to distribute them in the community neighborhoods around our house. He taught us to treat all people as equals, no matter their condition or origin. Lastly Guillermo loved nature, although in the beginning, reluctantly, he enjoyed the family camping where there was intense sharing.
After the accident that had him at death’s door in 2000, he had a second time that allowed him to enjoy and share with the forty-five grandchildren, who now remember him with immense affection, and he was able to know his first six great-grandchildren. Then his natural children and his adopted ones, as many called themselves, could return the affection that he always gave them
Undoubtedly, he is one of the 144 thousand.
Original: Spanish. 25 May 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA