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Beatification of Hildegard Burjan

Catholic World News - January 31, 2012

Vatican Radio has aired a special tribute to Blessed Hildegard Burjan, an Austrian wife, mother, legislator, and social activist who was beatified in Vienna on January 30.

Born into a Jewish family in what was then Prussia in 1883, Hildegard Freund Burjan was baptized in 1909. Already married, she moved to Vienna and became a member of the Austrian parliament. She took the lead in efforts to help those in need, founding a religious order and a lay group to work with poor families. She insisted on self-help measures, saying that in dealing with the poor “we must give them the confidence that they are capable of doing something for themselves.”

Hildegard Burjan also showed her dedication to the cause of life when doctors told her that she should have an abortion because a pregnancy endangered her life. She refused and gave birth to a daughter.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna presided at the beatification ceremony. At his Angelus audience on the day before the ceremony, Pope Benedict XVI referred to the Austrian woman as a “magnificent witness to the Gospel.” In his homily Cardinal Schönborn said that Blessed Hildegard Burjan demonstrates the power of sanctity in the political process, and of “people who speak through their actions.”

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