Since the publication of the previous edition of this work (1981) more than twenty years have gone by. Around the time of the canonization of Saint Anthony Mary Claret (1950), there was an abundant flourishing of studies, whose results were integrated into the first BAC edition (1959). Later, over several decades, the scholars have continued their difficult task in both the historic and the spiritual fields, trying to highlight aspects that maybe the zeal of glorification had blurred or placed out of focus. A new climate of greater serenity, exempt from apologetic concerns, has allowed a new settling and clarification in this regard.
The 1959 edition contained the autobiographical and spiritual writings of Saint Anthony Mary Claret. The 1981 edition only included the autobiographical writings and the same is included in this edition as well. It was decided to leave the Spiritual Writings for a second volume, which was published also by BAC in 1985. In other courses of action, the Epistolario Claretiano was published in Madrid in three volumes: the first two in the Editorial Coculsa in 1970 and the third in Publicaciones Claretianas in 1987.
The present work includes the Autobiography, fifteen autobiographical documents, Resolutions and Spiritual notes, Lights and Graces and six appendixes.
Guided by the criteria of fidelity, all the Saint’s hand-written manuscripts have been carefully checked. In the introductions and notes, we have tried to incorporate the results of the findings carried out during these last years.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who made possible the first and the second edition of this work and to all those who have collaborated in the bicentennial edition. All are Claretian Missionaries, whose names are the following: José Luis Albistur, Jordi Alsina, Augusto Andrés Ortega, Eleuterio Briongos, José María Ciller, Juan Manuel Lozano, Ángel del Molino, Isidro Muñoz, Joan Sidera, Jaime Torras and Francisco Vives.
This edition has been noticeably enriched with the numerous literal biblical citations or allusions of the Autobiography. Tracking them were Fathers Rudolf Mainka and Manuel Garde.
In the preparation of this new edition, the following have rendered valuable collaboration: Fathers Joan Sidera, Manuel Casanovas and Aldo Luis Cooper, as well as Brother Leopoldo Sánchez Cardenas, Sister María de la Cruz Bermejo, JST.
This initiative is that of the (2003-2009) General Government: Frs. Josep Maria Abella, Rosendo Urrabazo, Vicente Sanz, Domingo Ángel Grillía, Marcelo Ensema, Gonzalo Fernández, Mathew Vattamattam and José Félix Valderrábano.
The revision of the text has been done by the members of the CESC-Vic team, under the direction of Fr. Antonio Bellella and made up of by Frs. Jesús María Palacios, Jesu Doss S. and Anthony Ejikeme.
Finally, the printing of the Spanish Edition was undertaken by the team of the Editorial Claretiana of Buenos Aires, under the direction of Fr. Gustavo Larrazábal and composed of Fr. Raúl Mehring, María Gabriela Spalla Fuentes, María Gabriela Tavelli, Agustina Santarelli, Veronica Ferraro and Ramiro Pazo with the collaboration of Fr. Gustavo Alonso.
To all of them, we extend our most sincere gratitude with the hope that the effort we have carried out contributes to a greater understanding of one of the most significant figures in the Church of the 19th century.
J.M.V. and J. B.
Sirach or Ecclesiasticus or Ecclesiasticus of Ben Sirach (Eccli)