The Lieutenancy of Argentina counts among its most eminent members a Servant of God whose cause for beatification is open: Enrique Ernesto Shaw, model of Christian life for all Knights and Dames of Latin America and the world.
Pope Francis granted the request of the Argentine Church and recognized the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Enrique Ernesto Shaw, a layman, born in Paris on 26 February 1921, to an Argentine family, and died in Buenos Aires on 27 July 1962. The Holy Father, authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the relative decree, during an audience on 24 April 2021 with the Prefect of the Congregation.
Who is Enrique Ernesto Shaw? A layman, married, and father of nine children. His life was short, but full of commitments and responsibilities; at the age of four he had lost his mother, a Catholic woman, and his father, an agnostic, left little Enrique to be cared for by his maternal aunts, from whom he learned the sense of moral, civil, and social elevation to which a good Catholic was called. From 1931 to 1935 he was a student at De La Salle College, where he received an excellent religious formation, while at the same time achieving excellent scholastic results.
In 1936 he entered the Naval Academy in Rio Santiago, near La Plata, achieving the ranks of Ensign and then Frigate Lieutenant. In 1943 he married Cecilia Ana Maria Luisa Bunge with whom he had a deep emotional and spiritual communion. He was strongly committed to the preservation of workers' benefits, especially wages and family allowances, to the point of threatening his resignation as CEO of Rigolleau, a renowned glassware company that belonged to the economic elite of Argentina at the time.
His brilliant human and Christian qualities were also appreciated by the Argentine Episcopate who chose him as President of the Men of Catholic Action. As a young man he had been a valuable collaborator of his parish, then economic and social delegate of the Archdiocesan Council of Men of Buenos Aires and later Vice President of the same body. He participated in the creation of the Catholic University of Argentina, of which he was Treasurer; he was elected President of the Catholic Association of Business Executives; finally, he was a member of the Serra Club, the organization designed to foster apostolic vocations, and a Franciscan tertiary.
In 1958 he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma; despite this, he did not fail to fulfill his family responsibilities and work and social commitments. In the same year, on December 5, Fr. León B. Martinengo O.F.M., National Commissioner of the Third Order of St. Francis, proposed him to the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Card. Nicola Canali, for nomination as a Knight, considering him “a person truly worthy and deserving of the high honour to which he aspires, reason for which I am grateful to encourage the favorable reception of this request” (Letter of 5.12.1958).
In a list of February 11, 1959, the Apostolic Administrator of Buenos Aires willingly recommended him to the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; a request made again on 20 August 1961, by the Rector of the Third Order, Fra' Bernardino Santini, O.F. M.; the parish priest of the Basilica del Pilar, Rev. Juan Di Falco, on June 14, 1961, wrote: “Mr. Enrique Shaw belongs to this parish, he participates in it with constancy and edification (... he is) exemplary (and...) deserves the highest consideration as a knight and a Christian”. The nomination took place with a diploma from Cardinal Eugene Tisserant on 17 July 1962 and the news was immediately brought to his attention; but by then his earthly life was coming to an end. The Servant of God died on 27 August 1962, while in Rome final preparations were being made for the Second Vatican Council, and its renewal of the role of the laity in the Church.
Alvaro Manfredi from Buenos Aires, on August 30, 1962, announced: “Unfortunately, with great sorrow we experience the untimely death of Knight Shaw, an irreparable loss, but one more saint in heaven. He had greatly appreciated the nomination that I had given him almost in articulo mortis.” Later, the Vicar General of Buenos Aires sadly recalled: “Mr. Enrique Shaw (...) was very worthy of this distinction”.
From Rome, on learning the sad news, they replied that it was “comforting to know that before his death, he had the satisfaction of learning of his admission to the Order”.
Pope Francis, who as Archbishop had encouraged the opening of the canonical cause, now approves the heroic nature of Shaw's virtues, the first step on the path to the honours of the altar.
As Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre, we rejoice that the Church has recognized the great virtues of this brother who follows in the footsteps of Blessed Bartolo Longo, and I am particularly pleased to point him out to the common attention of our Order as a brother who leaves us and the Church a shining example of Christian virtue.
Fernando Cardinal Filoni
Grand Master Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre