Brother Gonzaga Chilutti, MM
Born: November 9, 1912
Oath: October 17, 1936
Died: February 11, 1952
Charles M. Chilutti, a native of Philadelphia, entered Maryknoll in October of 1934 at the age of twenty-two. He took his First Oath as a brother two years later on October 17, 1936, and his Perpetual Oath on September 29, 1942. After serving in various capacities at the Venard, the Center, and Akron, Ohio, Brother was assigned to the Pando Vicariate in 1945.
During the seven years that he was in the Pando his fellow missioners learned to appreciate his fine character and the supernatural virtues that characterized his life. He was generous to the point of great self-sacrifice and gave freely of whatever he had. His primary work was the maintenance of the river boats and their equipment. For the most part he worked alone, often improvizing to keep the motors running. The demands were heavy but he managed somehow to keep up with all the mechanical repairs so important in a jungle mission.
Besides his duties as a mechanic he was responsible for the upkeep of the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. He was also Master of Ceremonies for all Pontifical and Solemn Masses, and he had charge of the altar boys, for whom he had a special affection. Brother Gonzaga was a model of obedience. Bishop Danehy said, “Regarding his obedience I can honestly say that on all occasions he was perfectly submissive to the will of his superior. But over and above this, it was never necessary to give direct commands to Brother. A wish expressed was sufficient and his only preoccupation was that he was not completing the tasks as quickly as he should.”
Brother’s acts of charity were numerous, and many of them will probably never come to light, but, hidden or not, the simplicity with which they were performed gave indication of his firm belief that he had come to the missions, not to be served but to serve. As a Brother he fulfilled his duty of service to the priests with whom he worked. As a true Maryknoller, he had a deep and abiding faith in our Blessed Mother. His eyes were always upon her and once he told the Regional Superior that he had always prayed that he would die on one of Her feast days. He got his wish.
His body was laid out in the mission chapel at Ethea on February 12th, with the people from the settlement keeping vigil all night. On the following day Bishop Lane celebrated a Requiem Mass, Father Bonner preached, and brother’s remains were buried for a while at Ethea but later moved to Blanca Flor. Some time afterwards his remains were again moved to Riberalta, the Center, where they were laid to final rest. A Solemn Mass was offered at Maryknoll on February 16, 1952.