Saint Anthony Mary Claret

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V. The Evangelizers

Claret discovered that the people were not evangelized, and the Word did not produce the wonders of conversion in society as would have been achieved in other times because there was a lack of evangelizers of authentic evangelical life who were motivated by truly apostolic zeal.83 In praying, he asked the Lord to raise up these evangelizers, and he tried to engage the action of the Spirit by means of the spiritual exercises to laity and priests.84

Little by little, the Holy Spirit was raising Claret to become a mediator of missionary grace for others, the beginning of vocation identification, a global persona, that is, He gave him the charism of founder not only of associations of prayer and apostolic action, but of true families of God in the Church, or, to say it better, of an extended family born from his spiritual experience, from his doctrine – from his charismatic reading of the Gospel, – from his organization.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret promoted the ministry of associations not only because of the effectiveness and the advantages of the association, but because of the testimony and strength of the fraternal charity lived in communion of life in different degrees.85

The base organization was the Confraternity of the Blessed and Immaculate Heart of Mary for the conversion of the sinners.86 A popular and universal association; from it sprung groups who were more specialized either because of the intensity of the committed evangelical life or due to the quality of the apostolate. From this confraternity the Brotherhood was born (1847), which integrated priests and laity. The priests would be dedicated mainly to the preaching of missions and exercises. The laity, in writing and distributing books, to promote peace in families, unity of marriages, rehabilitation of fallen women, charity for the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, the aged, orphans and widows. An important branch of this Brotherhood were the “deaconesses,” women who, in addition to fulfilling the obligations of their given state in life, were devoted especially to the catechism, teaching and charity, together with a testimony of an irreproachable Christian life. This active participation of women in the ministry encountered opposition from the metropolitan bishop of Tarragona.87

Claret also promoted consecrated virginity in the world because the times did not favor the cloistered life; but as true a Christian vocation of secular evangelical life. From this movement, a secular institute, the Cordimarian Filiation was born.88

On July 16, 1849, he founded the Congregation of Missionaries called Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which were to be his followers in the universal evangelization, not only to renew the faith and Christian life in the established Church, but also to raise up, through evangelization, the Church where Christ had not yet been announced. Missionaries sent, like the Apostles, to announce the Gospel to every creature, and living a truly apostolic life.89 To supply the regular preachers, some priestly congregations were formed, but none went so forward with the pledge of apostolic life, later authorized with public simple vows.

This “itinerant” evangelization would have to be complemented by an ongoing cultivation of the renewal initiated. To this end, Claret thought of an institute of secular clergy of common life without vows, at the stable service of the diocese, “made up of those who have their faculties, stipends, territory, rights, titles, and teaching credentials.”90

The primitive Confraternity had made possible the Brotherhood, and from this Brotherhood was born that family or the army of the Heart of Mary, made up of three groups, with a complement of gifts and functions: prophetic priesthood and religious life, priesthood focused on sacraments and pastoral maintenance, and the lay apostolate with or without consecration in the world. Among these orders there was union of grace and charity, but they were not organized hierarchically or dependent upon one another.91 The revolution of ’68 interrupted, maybe, a subsequent development that could have lead to a common coordination or programming.

Around this fundamental nucleus arose other associations for evangelization, such as the Brotherhood of Christian Doctrine92and others with a more modern character, such as the Spiritual Brotherhood of Good Books.93 Above all, the Academy of St. Michael.94 Their objective was to make the laity responsible for the specialized apostolate. The associates were divided into three groups: the well read the artists and the promoters. “Tied together in this way, the academics will endeavor to live with the simplicity of the first Christians, having nothing more between them than one heart and one soul.”95

The episcopal experience in Cuba made him understand the Church as the mystical body of Christ and as a mystery and sacrament of salvation. Because of this, he tried with the missionary word to influence his brothers in the episcopacy toward a joint pastoral plan of action.96 He promoted the formation of good priests with his writings97and with the interdiocesan seminary at the Escorial.98 He saw that the Church did not have to rely on the help of the civil authorities, but on its own internal force.99 Thus, he promoted the education of the youth with his writings100and in helping to establish congregations devoted to teaching,101 even to encouraging his missionaries to widen their catechesis to include integral Christian education, telling them that it was the greatest good they could do for the Church.102

VI. “I Have Fulfilled My Mission”

One year before dying, he wrote confidentially from Rome: “It can be said that the plans the Lord had for me have been fulfilled.”103 “I think I have completed my mission: in Paris and in Rome I have preached God’s law: in Paris, as the capital of the world; and in Rome, the capital of Catholicism. I have done it by word and through writing. I have observed holy poverty.”104 The addressees of these letters understood what the Saint calls “the plans of God over me,” “my mission.” In the years 1855 and 1859, he commenced a new reading of his mission in the Church through the sign of the eagle and angel of the Apocalypse.105 The words that he quotes in the Autobiography are taken from commentary of Cornelio a Lápide, in which accordingly, the eagle meant a saint and a celestial prophet sent by God, which would fly or run at great speed across the land and will announce the great punishments that are coming.106 The same sign, even though more explicit, is that of the angel, in which Claret is seen followed by his missionaries as an echo of his voice and anointed by the Spirit with the same prophetic anointing to evangelize the poor and those with a repentant heart.107 The preaching in Paris and Rome was like a symbolic and prophetic anticipation of what he, as founder, would carry out in the Church.

Claret’s voice, which started-out timidly proclaiming the Gospel in the pulpit of a small mountain church, kept growing larger like the roar of a lion, and was left heard all over Catalonia, the Canary Islands, Cuba, all of Spain, Paris and Rome. His children, the missionaries, continue and will continue amplifying it like thunder throughout Africa and Asia. Claret’s word, which starts as a single handbill, grows like a gale with millions of handbills that reach the rural areas and cities.

His first missionary method108 is transformed into a pastoral plan of bishops at the level of the universal Church.109 The small group of children in the catechism class of Sallent has been converted into an auditorium of thousands of children on five continents.

The five priests who in 1849 committed themselves to live evangelical lives to be able to announce the Gospel apostolically, have been converted into thousands of missionaries who are extending, in time and in space, the closer following of Jesus Christ, re-presenting his life of consecration to the Father in the work of evangelization.

The saintly bishop Don Pablo de Jesus Corcuera advanced Claret’s priestly ordination because he saw in him something extraordinary.110 Indeed, he was a diocesan seminarian, but his heart was for the whole world.111 The “discretion” of the bishop was accurate, because Claret was always extraordinary: a boy that is already an apostle;112 a precocious technical worker who had extraordinary human relations with the workers;113 a pastor who felt confined in a parish;114 a missionary, but apostolic in the strictest sense of the word and of evangelical demands;115 a bishop-missionary, or, better still, a missionary bishop, who does not want to be a prince of the Church, but a servant of all, traveling impossible roads, like the mountain tops of Baracoa, to reach all.116 Confessor to the queen, yet not a courtesan; and a national evangelizer;117 Father of the Council with scars of a martyr118 and a Trastevere catechist.119 He died not like bishops die, but like the poor and missionaries: in the guestroom of a monastery and lying in wait up to the last moment; without the funeral of a dignitary, but of a poor exile.120 The Lord made him extraordinary so he could fulfill the extraordinary mission that had been entrusted to him: to preserve and defend the beauty of the Church so that she could announce the Gospel to all in a convincing and credible manner.

José María Viñas, CMF

General Bibliography

Offered in this section are the unpublished as well as published bibliography of St. Anthony Mary Claret and a large selection of books and articles in which the life, works, and spirituality of the Saint can be studied. Presented in the following order:

A) Claretian manuscripts.

B) Published works.

C) Edited or attributed works.

D) Writings.

E) Pontifical documentation.

F) Letters.

G) Biographies.

H) Studies.

I) Anti-Claret writings.

A) Claretian manuscripts (Mss. Claret)

The written manuscripts of St. Anthony Mary Claret were catalogued in a definitive systematic manner in 1960. During the years 1960-1961 they were subjected to a chemical treatment, for their conservation, in the Abbey of St. Nilo, by the Greek monks of Grottaferrata (cf. Anónimo, Los manuscritos de nuestro Santo Padre Fundador: Annales CMF 45 [1959-1960] 326-331).

Today they are preserved in the General Archives of the Claretian Missionaries in Rome. The number and content of these volumes is as follows:

  1. Autobiography (Biography of the Archbishop Anthony Mary Claret), 537 pp.

  2. Autobiographical documents:

Resolutions, Spiritual Notes, Lights and Graces, 431 pp.

  1. Letters (1844-1858), 647 pp.

  2. Letters (1859-1862), 537 pp.

  3. Letters (1863-1870), 560 pp.

  4. Photocopies of letters and other documents which are not in the

Congregation’s possession, 127 pp.

  1. Mission sermons (in Catalan), 665 pp.

  2. Sermons about the Eucharist, the Virgin, and the Saints, 703 pp.

  3. Mission sermons (in Castilian), 773 pp.

  1. Spiritual Exercises: to Claretians, priests, nuns and laity, 722 pp.

  2. Notes from Cuba and original pastoral letters, 471 pp.

  3. Notes from Madrid and materials for the Vatican Council, 472 pp.

  4. Reading notes, 816 pp.

  5. Personal and official documents, 545 pp.

  6. General account book of expenses in Madrid, 130 pp.

  7. Papal Bulls and apostolic briefs, 21 copies.

  8. Miscellaneous, I, 250 pp.

  9. Letters (complementary), 370 pp.

  10. Miscellaneous, II (in preparation).

This material, very copious as can be imagined, is still, in part, unpublished. To be able to use it with ease, Fr. José María Gil made an index volume which corresponds to the first 14 volumes. It is typewritten and also preserved in the General Archives and in the CESC in Vic.

B) Personal works

The literary work of St. Anthony Mary Claret is the fruit of his apostolic zeal. It came about due to the needs which were touched upon during his missionary preaching.

We possess various catalogues of books published by the Saint: They are the following:

Various Catalogs of the Librería Religiosa.

Idea de los libros y opúsculos, escritos por el Excmo. e Ilmo. Sr. D. Antonio María Claret, por orden alfabético: in Clotet, Jaime, Resumen de la admirable vida del Excmo. e Ilmo. Sr. Don Antonio María Claret y Clará (Barcelona 1882) 317-333.

Escritos que publicó el Padre Claret desde el principio de sus misiones hasta 1850: in Clotet, Jaime, Vida edificante del Padre Claret, Misionero y Fundador (Madrid 2000) pp. 233-242; and Escritos del Padre Claret siendo Arzobispo: ib., pp. 679-695.

Aguilar, Mariano, Vida admirable del Siervo de Dios P. Antonio María Claret (Madrid 1894) II, pp. 511-527.

Blanch, Jacinto, Estudi bibliogràfich de les Obres del Venerable Sallentí Anton M. Claret i Clará (Barcelona 1907) XVIII+60 pp.

Id., Catálogo alfabético de sus obras, in: Vida del Venerable... (Tarragona 1907) pp. 114-118.

Vila, Federico, Bosquejo de bibliografía claretiana (Barcelona 1932) 70 pp.

Viñas, José María, Estudios de bibliografía claretiana: Cuadernos Claretianos (Rome 1955) 30 pp. - typewritten.

Lozano, Juan Manuel, Ensayo de bibliografía crítica claretiana (Rome 1962) 110 pp.

These catalogues are almost all done in alphabetical order. Here we prefer to give a chronological catalogue, which helps us to frame each one of the publications of Fr. Claret within the different phases of his mission in the Church.

In all the works we offer the first and last edition published during the life of the Saint, with the objective of showing the evolution of some of them and the number of editions printed. For the English edition, titles are presented in the original (Castilian, Catalan, Latin, Italian), followed by translation and, where necessary or useful, brief comment. For an introduction to specific bibliographical problems in studying Claret's works, see Lozano, Juan Manuel, Ensayo de Bibliografia critica claretiana (Rome, 1962).


Cartas de los nueve coros de los Angeles (Letters from the nine choirs of Angels). Nine Offices of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the form of letters from each of the heavenly choirs concerning each of the Offices. Written while Claret was still in the seminary, they provide interesting insights into his devotional life at the time. Published in M. Aguilar, C.M.F., Vida admirable del S. de D. Antonio Maria Claret, vol. 2 (Madrid, 1894), 508 pp.

Apostolic Missionary (1840-1850)

This is the period of great popular missions in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. He writes for different categories of people, with the objective of conserving the fruits of the missions and to reach with his writings those he cannot reach in his preaching.

He publishes:

- That God be known: Catechisms.

- That God be praised: Respect for churches, trisagions.

- For sanctification in general: A review of the principal documents which souls need to aspire to perfection, The lover of Jesus Christ, Dialogue on prayer.

- For the sanctification of those in a variety of states: Council for children, to maids, married people, widows, priests.

- For the development of Christian life: The Straight Path.


Reglas de espíritu que a unas religiosas muy solícitas de su perfección enseñaban San Alfonso y el V. P. Segneri Juniore (Vich) 16 pp. (Rules of spirit that St. Alphonsus and Ven. Father Segneri taught to some nuns who were very solicitous of their perfection). Ascetical advice in the form of maxims, written for the Poor Clares of Vich. First booklet published by Claret. Appeared later under alternate title, Avisos a las nzonjas (Advice to Nuns).

Camí dret y segur per arribar al cel (Vich) 48 pp. (The straight and sure path that leads to heaven). Immensely popular book of prayers and devotions. We cite a later, much augmented edition (Madrid, 1859), 506 pp. Translations: Castilian, Basque, Portuguese, Pangasinan.


Avisos a un sacerdote que acaba de hacer los ejercicios de San Ignacio, a fin de conservar el fuego que el divino Espíritu haya encendido en su corazón (Vich) 24 pp. (Advice to a priest who has just finished making the Exercises of St. Ignatius, to help him maintain the fire the Divine spirit has set in his heart. English trans. Priestly Pathways (San Gabriel, Ca.)). Portuguese trans., Aos Sacerdotes (1937).

Avisos saludables a las doncellas, o sea, carta espiritual que escribía a una hermana suya (Vich: Trullás) 50 pp. (Salutary advice to young ladies or spiritual letters that he wrote to one of his sisters). Translations: Catalan, Basque, Portuguese, Tagalog, Visayan.

Colección de varios opúsculos (Barcelona) 4 vols. (Collection of various short works).


Avisos molt útils als pares de familia que per son bé espiritual y temporal los dirigeix D. Antoni Claret (Barcelona: Pla) 72 pp. (Most helpful advice to parents). Translations: Castilian, Portuguese, Tagalog.

Avisos saludables a las donsellas, o sia, carta espiritual que escrigué a una germana seva (Barcelona: Pla) 48 pp. (Salutary advice to young ladies, or spiritual letter that he wrote to one of his sisters).

Avisos saludables als nois que per son bé espiritual los dirigeix (Vich: Trullás) 72 pp. (Salutary advice to children).

Avisos saludables para los niños (Barcelona) 64 pp. - (Palma) 120 pp. (Salutary advice to children).

La cesta de Moisés entre las siete bocas del Nilo, o sea, avisos saludables a los jóvenes para preservarse del siglo (Vich: Trullás) 144 pp. (The reed-basket of Moses among the seven mouths of the Nile, or collection of salutary counsels to young men, to preserve them from the perils of the age). Instructions for young men, especially on chastity and piety. Translations: Castilian, Basque, Pangasinan.

Máximas de moral la més pura que ensenyava al més petit de sos germáns D. A. C. P., o sian consells utilíssims als noys per guardarse de pecar y per viurer santament en la primera edad (Vich: Trullas) 72 pp. (Maxims of the purest morality). Instructions for boys. From 1846 on, it appeared under the title Avisos als nois. Translations: Castilian, Tagalog, Pangasinan, Visayan.

Máximas de la moral más pura... (Palma) 120 pp. (Maxims of the purest morality). See above.


Avisos saludables a las casadas, o sia, carta espiritual que escrigué a una germana seva (Vich) 64 pp. (Salutary advice to married women). Instructions on the obligations of married women. Some interesting passages on the Blessed Virgin. Recommendations for certain pious practices. Translations: Castilian, Tagalog, Visayan, and Chamorro (Mariana Islands).

Avisos saludables a las casadas, o sea, carta espiritual que escribía a una casada hermana suya (Barcelona) 64 pp. (Salutary advice to married women). See above.

Avisos saludables als nois que per son bé espiritual los dirigeix (Barce­lona: Pla) 64 pp. (Salutary advice to children). See 1845.

Camino recto y seguro para llegar al cielo (Barcelona) 80 pp. (The straight and sure path that leads to heaven). See above, 1843. Last publication, Barcelona: Verón 1988.

La canasta de Moysés entre les set bocas del Nilo, o sia, colecció de avisos saludables als joves para preservarse dels perills del sigle (Vich: Trullas) 144 pp. (The reed-basket of Moses among the seven mouths of the Nile, or collection of salutary counsels to young men, to preserve them from the perils of the age). Instructions for young men, especially on chastity and piety. Translations: Castilian, Basque, Pangasinan.

La escala de Jacob y la porta del cel, o sian súplicas a Maria Santíssima (Vich: Trullas) 64 pp. (Jacob's ladder and heaven's gate, or supplications to the Blessed Virgin Mary). Short treatise on devotion to the Blessed Virgin, followed by invocations in the form of a litany. The treatise abounds in comparisons, which were one of Claret's fortes; also a statement of the Thomistic doctrine on prayer and Providence. The invocations express some of Claret's favorite devotional themes. Translation: Castilian.

La escalera de Jacob y puerta del cielo, o sean súplicas a María Santísima (Barcelona 1846) 32 pp. (Jacob's ladder and heaven's gate, or supplications to the Blessed Virgin Mary). See above.

Sant Exercici del Via Crucis ab una explicació del modo quel cristiá ha de portar la sua creu y seguir a Jesucrist (Barcelona: Pla) 64 pp. (Holy exercise of the Way of the Cross, with an explanation of the way in which the Christian must take up his cross and follow Jesus Christ). A Way of the Cross, followed by a short treatise on mortification and patience. The treatise is modeled on parts of St. Alphonsus's Selva and other sources, such as Rodriguez's Practice of Perfection.


Auxili dels difunts (Barcelona: Pla) 96 pp. (Help for the departed). Short treatise on purgatory. Examples. Prayers for the dead. All Souls' Novena. Translations: Castilian, Pangasinan.

Breu noticia de las instruccions de la Arxiconfraria del Santíssim e Immaculat Cor de Maria per la conversió dels pecadors (Barcelona: Pla) 128 pp. (Brief notice on the instructions of the Archconfraternity of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Conversion of Sinners). Followed by a novena to the Immaculate Heart.

Breve noticia del origen, progresos, gracias e instrucciones de la Archicofradía del Sagrado Corazón de María para la conversión de los Pecadores (Barcelona: Pla) 138 pp. (Brief notice …). See above.

Catecismo menor que per la ensenyansa dels noys y noyas luego que saben parlar ha escrit (Pla: Barcelona) 40 pp. (Short catechism).

Método senzill i facil de fer lo examen particular (Vich: Trullas) 16 pp. (Plain and easy method for making the particular examen).


Avisos molt utils a las viudas que per son bé espiritual y temporal las dirigeix (Barcelona: Pla) 48 pp. (Very helpful advice to widows). Translation: Castilian.

Catecisme de la doctrina cristiana explicat y adaptat a la capacitat dels noys y noyas y adornat ab moltas estampas (Barcelona: LR), 430 pp. (Catechism of Christian Doctrine, explained and adapted to children's level). Classic catechism with commentary; each chapter illustrated with engraving designed by Claret. Translations: Castilian and Portuguese.

Catecismo de la doctrina cristiana explicado y adaptado a la capacidad de los niños y niñas y adornado con muchas láminas (Barcelona: LR), 484 pp. (Catechism of Christian Doctrine, explained and adapted to children's level). See above.

Catecismo brevísimo que solamente contiene lo que indispensablemente ha de saber todo cristiano (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Ortega), 104 pp. (Very brief catechism that contains only the indispensable minimum that every Christian must know).

Compendi o breu explicació de la doctrina cristiana en forma de diálogo entre pare y fill (Barcelona: Pla) 156 pp. (Compendium or brief explanation of Christian doctrine in the form of a dialogue between father and son). Ordinary catechism based on the work of Smandia, arranged and augmented by Claret. Translation: Castilian.

Consejos santos y saludables para saber arreglar bien las acciones (Barce­lona) 16 pp.

Modo facil de confessarse bé y ab brevedat y de combregar ab utilitat (Vich ) 16 pp.

Reflexiones que hace a todos los cristianos y a cada uno en particular… (Barcelona) 40 pp. (Reflections made by all Christians and each one in particular…) Three laminated drawings with explanations about the last things (death, judgment, hell and heaven), devotion to the Virgin Mary and the condemnation of a soul respectively. First appeared as a flyer.

Resumen de los principales documentos que necesitan las almas que aspi­ran a la perfección, escrito bajo el símbolo de una Paloma (Barcelona: Pla), 32 pp. (Resume of the principal texts needed by souls aspiring to perfection). Brief summary of ascetical principles, with a method for making the particular examen.

Sant exercici del Via Crucis (Barcelona) 4th ed., 64 pp. (Holy exercise of the Way of the Cross). See above, 1847.

Socorro a los difuntos (Barcelona) 104 pp.

Vida buena y mala del cristiano o los dos árboles (Barcelona: Pla) (A good and a bad Christian life). Published first as a leaflet, in 1847.

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