Saint Anthony Mary Claret



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909. 8 Mar. 2009 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06220a.htm.

365 Claret read two chapters of the Bible every day and four during Lent, following Bishop Paul Corcuera’s advice. He would always carry the Bible with him on his trips. He studied the most valued commentaries of that age: Calmet, Cornelius A Lápide, Tirino, etc. He was an Apostle of his readings. He had the Librería Religiosa publish a bilingual Bible, with notes by Fr. Felipe Scío de San Miguel, “so as to put an end to a sort of laziness that is noticeable among our brothers and fellow-citizens in regard to the reading and pondering of the Holy Scriptures” (La Santa Biblia [Barce­lona 1852] I, p. 5). In 1862, he published (La Biblia Sacra o Vulgata latina (Barcelona) 894 pp., indicating the most important verses with an index mark or a dash and suggesting that they be reread and learned by heart. He donated five copies to each seminary in Spain (cf. Autob. N. 779). In 1856, he published El Santo Evangelio de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo según San Mateo anotado (Barcelona) 230 pp. Among his ex libris, The Holy Bible (New York 1856) 1671 pp., was preserved which was dedicated to him in a luxurious binding by the editors Edward Dunigan and Brother. Ex libris (cf. Casals, Ramón, Devoción a la Sagrada Escritura: IC 28 [1934] 237 241; Peinador, Máximo, La edición de la Vulgata del Beato P. Claret: IC 42 [1949] 373 385; Palacios, Jesús María, Lectura de la Palabra de Dios según Claret: SC 12 [1994] 7-56).

366 During the Barcelona crisis, a gospel text served to remove him from the world (cf. Autob. n. 68). Now, upon reading the Bible, he reacts according to his new inclination: the apostolic ideal. This “revelation” is reminiscent of that of San Francis regarding his ideal of poverty (cf. Cassut, Lorenzo, L’eredità di S. Francesco. Riesame della sua spiritualità [Roma 1952] pp. 53 64). In the Autob. Doc IV and VIII there are other lists of the texts that impressed him the most. They partly coincide with these and partly complement them. By internalizing deep within his heart these passages from Isaiah, which end with the calling of the Servant of Yahweh, as well as the passages from Ezekiel on prophetic vigilance, the Holy Spirit made Claret aware of the mission that he was predestined to fulfill.

367 Claret wrote LXI; it is actually XLI.

368 Cf. Lk 21:15.

369 He quotes from memory Lk 4:18 (cf. Is 61:1). By contrast, in number 687 of the Autobiography, he quotes Jn 4:17 literally, and does likewise in “Lights and Graces.”

370 Cf. Pastoral al pueblo (Santiago de Cuba, 1853) p. 3: Escritos Pastorales (BAC, Madrid, 1997) p. 196.

371 Don Lucian Casadevall accepted his resignation on June 30, 1839. It appears that Claret had already thought of gathering a group of priests to devote themselves to mission work, but he was dissuaded from doing so by Father Pedro Bach due to the civil war. Feeling destined to preach and not being able to do so in Spain, he wished to offer his services to the Pope so that he would send him to the missions abroad, “for I am thirsty – as declared to his friend Luis Sauquer – to shed my blood for Jesus Christ” (Aguilar, Francisco de Asís, Vida de Claret, p. 412).

372 One of his biographers, Fr. Cristóbal Fernández, calls this chapter “outstanding”, adding that it could be termed “picturesque literature turned divine” (HD, I, p. 117). The style of these three chapters, where he relates his first trip to Rome, differs from the other pages of the Autobiografía by the spirit and youthful liveliness, almost cinematographic that emerge from his words. As to Claret’s former itinerary through France, cf. Alba, Félix, Saint Antoine Marie Claret de passage à Marseille: SC 9 (1991) 130-135; this author corrects to a good extent the approximate dates provided by Fr. Cristóbal Fernández in the work that was cited, i.e. HD, I, pp. 117-124.

373 Perafita is twelve kilometers from Olost.

374 Fr. Francis Matavera, from the Chapel of St. Philip Neri of Vic was a wise and experienced man; he is known to have been tonsured and given minor orders in Vic by Bishop Veyán on the 8th and 9th of March 1805. In 1810, he served as Vicar of Sant Feliu de Torelló, and Bishop Corcuera appointed him to be one of the twelve prosynodal examiners during three consecutive three-year periods (1827-1830, 1830-1833 and 1833-1835). It appears that he hailed from Mas Matavera, located in the municipality and parish of Santa María de Corcó. Claret sought advice from Fr. Matavera because Fr. Pedro Bach was in France at the time (first in Perpignan and then, during this period, in Nice.)

375 Osseja had 1,085 inhabitants at the time, who chiefly lived off border traffic. The certificate attached to the inland pass was issued in Olost on the 13th of September 1839 by Juan Doménech and Juan Clotet, the mayor. It stated “that Rev. Anthony Claret, Presb., a native of the parish of Sallent, of the same diocese [Vic] and who currently lives in Olost, is an individual who has never been involved in political matters, but one who has only been seen fulfilling the duties inherent to his sacred ministry, always driven by a great zeal for the religion of Jesus Christ, which zeal, in order to be employed more effectively in the aforesaid ministry, prompted him to set out on a long trip for Rome” (Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sec. “Embassy of Spain to the Holy See”, XIX century, leg. 966: Passports). The original text in Catalan can be viewed on EC, I, p. 96. See also Claret’s letter to Spanish Ambassador in Rome, SL, pp. 66-67.

376 The name of this town, correctly spelled, is Osséja.

377 The exact spelling of this town is Olette.

378 Since he had not been able to obtain a pass to travel abroad, he followed the mountain road used by smugglers and fugitives up to Osséja. In Perpignan, he rejoined the regular route from Barcelona to Rome. The entire itinerary of places and hours of travel up to Marseille, where he embarked, can be recreated (cf. Anónimo, Guía de camins per anar y venir de las partes mes principals de España y Roma [Manresa 1843] pp. 4-7).

379 His name was Don Ramón Raurell and he acted as the ecclesiastical administrator of Castellar de N’Huch (Barce­lona) from 1834 to 1848. However, another author affirms that it was Don Carles Buscallá (cf. Bertrans, Pedro, Petjades apostòliques del Beat Anton Maria Claret en el bisbat de Solsona [Barcelona 1934] p. 20).

380 The liberal government authorities, depended upon groups of civilians to act as a militia for border control; they helped control the transit of fugitive Carlists, quite numerous at the end of the war. People considered them thieves due to their irregular behavior. Claret was held for not carrying identity papers and they insisted on taking him before the commander of Puigcerda.

381 It was probably on Saturday, September 14, 1839 (cf. Alba, Félix, art. cit, p. 131).

382 By stating that the young man who took care of him in Marseille “looked more like an angel than a man”, he confirmed what he said at the beginning of the Autobiography: “the divine Providence has always looked after me in a special way” (n. 7). In any event, perhaps that special providence could have manifested itself through one of the aids of Fr. Enrique Margalhan Ferrant (Sainte-Marthe, Marseille, January 15, 1799-ib. January 28, 1883): he was founder of a Congregation of the Trinitarian Nuns on February 2, 1845 (cf. DIP, V, col. 909); he also created an apostolic society to aid the monks, nuns and priests in exile, with agents posted in the most important cities and ports of France and Italy (cf. Jiménez Duque, Baldomero, Espiritualidad y apostolado, BAC, Historia de la Iglesia en España, ed. cit., p. 455). The young man who attended to Claret could have been one of its members (cf. Serra, Juan, Ascética: Anales CMF 24 [1929] 589-592).

383 The Spanish consulate in Marseille situated at the foot of Notre Dame de la Garde, and the cemetery, which is one of the places he visited, was located in the place now occupied by St. Charles station. Claret took lodging in the district located between the Old Port and St. Charles, where he entered the city.

Once he obtained the fare to Civitavecchia, whose cost was 35 Francs in third class, he boarded the steamboat “Tancrède” in Marseille, on Tuesday the 1st of October at one o’ clock in the afternoon, which was bound for Genoa, Livorno (Leghorn) and Civitavecchia. It is a known fact that the postal ships, of whose fleet the Tancrède was part, departed from Marseille on the 1st, the 11th and the 21st of every month.



384 It refers to “the Hug of Vergara” (October 31, 1839) that sealed the accord between generals Rafael Maroto (1783-1847) of the Carlist faction and Baldomero Espartero (1793-1879) of the liberal faction, which ended the First Carlist War and caused Don Carlos María Isidro de Borbón (1788-1855), brother of Fernando VII and pretender to throne of Spain, to flee to foreign lands.

385 Cf. Mt 8:24-28; Mk 4:37-39; Lk 8:23-26.

386 It is a known fact that the vessels made a stop in Genoa and Livorno (cf. Anonimo, Nuovissima Guida dei viaggiatori in Italia [Milano 1839] 5th ed., p. XXVIII).

387 Livorno, port city of Tuscany (Italy), on route of the Via Aurelia, towards France in the north and Civitavecchia and Rome in the south.

388 The Nuovissima Guida quoted above states: I batelli a vapore che fanno il viaggio da Marsiglia a Napoli sbarcano a Civitavecchia i forestieri che vanno a Roma (o. c., p. 351). The distance between Civitavecchia and Roma - 80 kilometers – was covered in approximately seven hours by stagecoach through “a new and comfortable road, recently fixed” (cf. ib., p. 351). They had to travel the same day they came ashore, as Claret states in one of his notes: “On the year 39, on the day of the Rosary, I reached Civitavecchia and Rome” (Mss. Claret, II, 214). The feast of the Virgin of the Rosary was celebrated that year on Sunday, the 6th of October. They road they followed was the Via Aurelia to the Cavalleg­geri gate, near the Bernini colonnade, and from there to his final stop located in Vicolo dell'Albergo di Civitavecchia. From this place, after crossing the Sant'Angelo bridge and walking towards the Vatican, they reached the convent and church of Santa María in Traspontina.

389 Cf. Sir 24:24..

390 The Spanish government, presided by the revolutionary and violent José María Calatrava (1781 1847), through a Decree dated October 8, 1837, had prohibited the same bishops from ordaining their seminarians or granting them dimissorial letters to be ordained in other dioceses. This is the reason many seminarians left for southern France or for Rome in order to be ordained as priests. In 1838, the Government of Count Ofalia (1777 1843) lifted this prohibition, but it was imposed a second time in December 1840 under the regency of general Baldomero Espartero..

391 The church of Santa María in Traspontina was inaugurated in 1587; the Calced Carmelites priests were entrusted with its care.

392 Fr. Edward Comas (Pineda 1788   Barcelona 1865). Carmelite (1806). Apostolic commissary (1839-1864). He was parish priest at Santa María in Transpontina from 1841 and, thereafter, benefice holder of the Bethlehem Church in Barcelona (1850), and a professor of Philosophy (1854).

393 The church and the convent of St. Basil are located on the street bearing the same name, between the Barberini Plaza and Via Leonida Bissolati, very close to Plaza Barberini and Via Vittorio Véneto.

394 Fr. Francis Vilardell, Franciscan. Born in Barcelona in 1787, he served during 20 years as a missionary in Palestine, a Commissary General of the curia for Franciscan missions, titular Archbishop of Filippi, and Apostolic Vicar to Mount Lebanon from March 8, 1839. He died in Beirut, on June 9, 1852 (cf. Chacón Alfayate, El Padre Claret malogrado misionero de Fray Francisco Vilardell ofm, vicario apostólico de Alepo: Claretianum 23 [1983] 325-333).

395 Cardinal James Philip Franzoni, born in 1775, was created cardinal by Pope Leo XII on October 2, 1826. He was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide from 1834. He died in Rome on April 20, 1856 and is buried at the church of St. Lawrence “in Lucina.”

396 The professed house was the community of the church of Gesù. The only Spanish priest then was Fr. Bernardo Hernández (Santiago de Compostela 1802   Córdoba, Argentina, 1847). This priest was one of the directors of the exercises in the church of St. Eusebius, although it cannot be ascertained that he directed them to Claret (cf. Frías, Lesmes, El Beato Antonio María Claret y sus relaciones con la Compañía de Jesús: Razón y Fe 104 [1934] 437).

397 Contrary to what Fr. Lesmes Frías presumes (ib.), one must abide by the letter of the Saint’s words: that he followed the same text of St. Ignatius, not that of the expositor. Fr. John Philip Roothaan had given new life to the Ignatian text and preferred it to that of any expositor (cf. Pirri, Pietro, P. Giovanni Roothaan, XXI Generale della Compagnia di Gesù [Roma 1930] pp. 190 191). In addition, Claret himself later stresses that he did them “because of St. Ignatius’ writings” (Autob. n. 306).

398 The Servant of God, Fr. John Philip Roothaan was born in Amsterdam on November 23, 1785. Elected Superior General on July 9, 1826, he has been called “second founder” for furthering the Society’s restoration. He died in Rome, on May 8, 1853. (cf. Chappin, M., Roothaan, Juan Felipe (Jan Philip. Siervo de Dios. Vigésimo primer General, en: Diccionario histórico de la Compañía de Jesús. Biográfico-temático. Directors: Charles O'Neill, S.I.-Joaquín M.ª Domínguez, S.I. (Roma-Madrid 2001) II, pp. 1665-1671). Claret lived the fervor of this rebirth, most of all the exercises and the Marian devotion. Fr. Roothaan had already published the Latin translation of the exercises (1835) and the book De ratione meditandi (1837). He had not yet published the De cultu purissimi Cordis Mariae letter (1848), but he had launched the devotional movement for the Heart of Mary with the “vote” in 1837 in favor of those Jesuits who aided the victims of those affected by cholera (cf. Pirri, Pietro, o. c., p. 327). Fr. Roothaan’s esteem for Fr. Claret is evidenced in the letters that he wrote to Claret (cf. Jonge, Ludovicus de-Pirri, Petrus, Epistolae Ioannis Phil. Roothaan [Rome 1939 1940] IV, letter 257, pp. 416­-417; V, letter 401, pp. 625 626; letter 402, pp. 626-627) and in those addressed to Don Lucian Casadevall (cf. ib., V, letters 480 and 481, pp. 722 724).

399 Fr. José Spedalieri. Born in Bronte (Catania) on March 8, 1791. He entered the Society of Jesus on September 26, 1830. He took his vows on March 25, 1830. He was Provincial of Sicily (April 12, 1830) and of the Roman Province (1835 1840). Again appointed Provincial of Sicily (1842 1845 and 1849 1853) and of the Neapolitan Province (1859 1865). He died in Malta on April 23, 1872.

400 He must have requested his admission around the 20th of October. The Liber admissorum et dimissorum states that he was admitted on October 30 (p. 239), while the Diario de la casa noviciado, where the Father Minister recorded the events in the community, states: “29 tt., art.: D. Claret Ant. in Prob.   30 Ott., Merc.: Entra il P. Spagnolo.” In the book entitled Libro degli esami che si fanno all’in­gresso the Saint wrote: “Antonius Claret, Pbter., ingressus die 29 octobris anno 1839, interrogatus respondi ad omnia affirmative.” In an autograph he affirms: “On the 29th of October 1839, I entered the Company and on the 13th of November of the same they gave me the habit” (Mss. Claret, II, 282).

The Sant'Andrea de Monte Cavallo Novitiate, located on the Via di Porta Pia (known today as Via del Quirinal), was founded on September 20, 1566, when Saint Francis Borja was General of the Society of Jesus (1510-1572). It started as a novitiate in June 1569. Its first rector and novice master was Fr. Alphonsus Ruiz and Cardinal Francis Toledo was the second to act as such. St. Stanislaus Kostka, who had started the novitiate in Gesù, died here on August 15, 1568 (cf. Giachi, Gualberto-Matthiae, Guglielmo, S. Andrea al Quirinale [Rome, 1969] 104 pp.). During Claret’s time, it had 60 novices and Fr. Roothaan made of it a model for all the other novitiates. Fr. Claret, who received number 53 by order of arrival, was fortunate to get the room next to that occupied by St. Francis Borja until he died (cf. HD, I, pp. 307 308). Some fellow novices worth mentioning are Fr. Louis Pincelli (1822-1885), who was in charge of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother (from 1841 to 1856), and Salvator Tongiorgi (1820 1863), philosopher and author of two philosophical treaties. Still present at the novitiate, although recently ordained, was Brother Ferdinand Bonacina, who was martyred in Zahlé, Al Bika (Lebanon) on the 18th of June 1860, together with four other Jesuits (cf. Jalabert, H., Bonacina (Bonacini), Ferdinando, en: Diccionario histórico de la Compañía de Jesús. Biográfico-temático. Directors: Charles O'Neill, S.I.-Joaquín M.ª Domínguez, S.I. (Rome-Madrid 2001) I, p. 485).



401 He received the habit on Wednesday the 13th of November, day of the feast of St. Stanislaus Kostka.

402 Fr. Vincent Maurizi, novice master and rector, was born in Macerata in 1780. He entered the Society in 1815, already a priest. He was appointed rector and novice master on August 1, 1832 and held office until December 1, 1845, when he was transferred as Spiritual Director to the professed house of the Gesù. He worked zealously to maintain the highest level of spiritual life at the Novitiate. He died in Rome in 1865.

403 Fr. Juan Maria Ratti held this office. Born in Codogno (Milan) on February 28, 1787, he entered the Society of Jesus on November 11, 1815. He took the three vows on February 2, 1815 and died in Tivoli (Rome) on May 7, 1851 (cf. Mendizábal, Rufo, Catalogus Defunctorum a renata Societate Iesu ab a. 1814 ad a. 1970 (Romae 1972) p. 31).

404 The person in charge of passing by the rooms with the little notebook was indistinctively called portinaro caporale or capo by the novices.

405 Perhaps, looking back on those days, Claret wrote to Fr. Juan Nepomuceno Lobo, his vicar general in Cuba and later a novice in the Society of Jesus: “For some time now the Lord has been rearing me and treating me as a Jesuit, that is to say, taking away what I want and denying me what I wish” (letter dated in Madrid on July 12, 1857: EC, I, pp. 1375-1376).

406 He exaggerates, out of humility, the little benefit that he drew from the Society. Claret himself had said that he learned aided by the grace of God (Autob. n. 142). Ignatian spirituality, organized as it is for the service of a universal mission, struck a responsive chord in the spirit of Claret, the novice, who had come to Rome to be sent out by the Pope on a mission throughout the world. But this spirituality was not new to him. At the Vic seminary he had been a member of a Marian fraternity and had taken up meditation, examination of conscience and spiritual exercises. From then on he valued deeply the Ignatian spirituality. However, he assimilated it according to his own vocational needs, psychological conditioning, and family background, keeping his own originality intact. The Charitas Christi urget nos of his coat of arms expresses some nuances different from that of the Ad majorem Dei gloriam of St. Ignatius (cf. Puigdesens, José, Espíritu del Venerable P. Antonio María Claret [Barcelona 1928] p. 195).

407 Fr. Roothaan wrote Fr. Claret regarding the exercises: “I admire and praise the Providence of the Lord, which having brought you here to learn how to wield this weapon, then took away your health to afterwards restore you and allow you to do so much good in your native land” (cf. Jonge, Ludovicus de-Pirri, Petrus, Epistolae Ioannis Phil. Roothaan [Roma 1939 1940] vol. V, letter 401, pp. 625 626).

408 These “other things” are probably government and organization criteria that he mentions with frequency as, for example, in a letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré stating “I am always afraid of giving you advice on things that you ask me about regarding the Congregation, because I always recall St. Ignatius’ caution in proceeding similarly with regard to the Society so as not to interfere with those who hold power” (June 11, 1867: EC, II, p. 1172).

409 Cf. Ps 33:9.

410 The spirit of the Founder and of the future missionaries is described in these fervent prayers, at least in general (cf. Aguilar, Mariano, Vida admirable del Siervo de Dios P. Antonio María Claret [Madrid 1894] I, p. 104). They represent a filial and apostolic consecration to the Virgin Mary, paraphrased with all the forcefulness and exuberance of a passion that filled the whole world and that now could only be channeled through prayer. The exalted, often exuberant tone reflects the romantic tendency of that age. But under this appearance emerges the sincerity of an apostolic, intense and universal love. Fr. Aguilar, in the cited work (I, pp. 102 103), presented them as unpublished prayers. However, Fr. Claret, who immediately distributed anything that could do any good, had published them 15 years earlier, in the second edition of Avisos a un sacerdote (Barcelona 1846) pp. 38 47: Escritos Espirituales, pp. 254-257. For English see Works, v. III, pp. 306-310.

411 Cf. 1 Pt. 1:19.

412 Cf. Is 6:8.

413 Cf. Is 42:24; 56:11.

414 Ps 52:4: There is not one who does good, not even one.

415 Cf. Lk 18:8.

416 Cf. Mt 7:13.

417 Cf. Mt 7:7, 3-14; Lk 13:24.

418 Cf. 1 Jn 3:17.

419 Is 6:8:Here I am, send me.”

420 1 Cor 15:10: “By God's grace I am what I am.

421 Is 6:8. “Send me.

422 Rom 9:3: “I would desire to be anathema for my brothers.

423 Phil 4:13: “I can do all things in him [her] who strengthens me.” - Claret slightly modifies the text to apply it to the Virgin.

424 He refers to the prayer “Remember,” for no reason attributed to St. Bernard.

425 The Father Minister of the house and Novice Master was Fr. Geminiano Mislei (Modena 1803   Rome 1867), author of various works of biblical and patristic inspiration, to wit: Grandezze di Gesù Cristo tratte dalle lettere di S. Paolo (Roma 1856). Gesù Cristo ed il cristiano (Roma 1859); La Madre di Dio descritta dai SS. Padri e Dottori (Rome 1862) and Le lettere di S. Paolo spiegate a conforto ed istruzione dei cristiani (Rome 1866) (cf. Guibert, Joseph de, La spiritualité de la Compagnie de Jésus [Roma 1953] p. 504).

426 A few years later he told Fr. James Clotet about some of the incidents at these practical catechism conferences (cf. Clotet, Jaime, Vida edificante del Padre Claret, Misionero y Fundador [Madrid 2000] p. 87).

427 It was called the San Giácomo in Augusta Hospital because it was near the mausoleum of Augustus, on today’s Via del Corso. It was also known as the Hospital for the Incurable. The name of San Giácomo is due to the close proximity of St. James the Apostle Church. The hospital had a capacity of 300 patients and it held an average of 200. (cf. Anonimo, Guida di Roma [1843] II, p. 619).

428 Four months exactly since his admission on October 29, 1839; but much less if counted from the beginning of the novitiate when he received the habit (on the 13th of November).

429 Another part mentions that it was a rheumatic pain “brought on by the amount of rain and humidity during that year” (Testimonio de la verdad: Autob. Doc. XI; cf. Autob. n. 859).

430 This is how the anarchist James Brossa, director of the newspaper El Diluvio, condemned Fr. Claret’s return to Spain: “Do not exaggerate by affirming that this was the great sign from Providence… This is how the General of the Jesuits unleashed his catapult against Spain” (Brunet, Manuel, Actualidad del P. Claret [Vic 1953] pp. 45 46). “Had Fr. Claret not existed, Catalonia would have understood the message of the revolution” (o. c., p. 39). “His stay in Madrid, when later appointed confessor to Isabel II, was a true catastrophe for the Spanish revolutionary movement” (o. c., p. 41).

431 This phrase is not quoted literally in any of the three letters that Fr. Roothaan wrote to Fr. Claret, the one most similar being the following: “Con somma consolazione ho inteso il gran bene, che Dio benedetto si degna di operare col di Lei mezzo per gli Esercizi Spirituali di S. Ignazio, arma, sì, poderosissima per salvar le anime. Ammiro e benedico la Provvidenza del Signore, che avendola prima fatto venir qua ver prender cognizione di questa arma, poi non Le diede quella salute, che ora poi Le ha restituito per poter tanto operare in patria. Egli ne sia sempre benedetto! e Le continui la lena, e le forze per sì bella opera.” [With great consolation I have understood the great good that God has deign to work with you through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, surly a very powerful weapon to save souls. I admire and bless the providence of the Lord, who having first made you come here to become aware of this weapon, then not giving you the needed health, has now has returned you to do so much work in your home country. May He always be blessed! and you be given vigor and strength to continue such good work.] (letter from Fr. Roothaan to Fr. Claret, December 8, 1844: Jonge, Ludovicus de-Pirri, Petrus, o. c., V, letter 401, pp. 625 626; and Bermejo, Jesús, Epistolario pasivo de San Antonio María Claret, I (1838-1857) (Madrid 1992) p. 22).

432 He left the novitiate on Saturday, February 29, 1840. Fr. Geminiano Mislei notes this in his Diario de la casa noviciado: “29 febbr., sabato. Il P. Claret esce per sanità.” On March 7, he requested the Spanish embassy for the pass that he had brought from France. The bottom of the request reads: “this note was issued to him by the French Embassy on March 15, 1840, upon taking out a passport for Spain from the Papal Government for having lost the French one under which he had traveled” (Archive from the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, XIX century: Passports; cf. EC, I, pp. 95 96). On Thursday, March 19, on the feast of St. Joseph, he sailed from Civitavecchia, heading to France and Spain.

433 Eminently religious population which strongly favored the Queen and would therefore protect him of any suspicion of being a Carlist emissary; his sermons and virtues would clear him from any suspicion of being an emissary for the revolution” (Aguilar, Francisco de Asís, Vida de Claret, pp. 50 51).

434 Brother Fermín Sánchez Artesero was born in Alcaráz (Albacete) on November 27, 1784. He joined the Capuchins of Alcalá de Henares in 1802 under the name of Brother Fermín de Alcaraz. He was ordained a priest in 1809. He was a representative of the Carlist faction in Rome and helped the Spanish seminarians receive Holy Orders. In 1842, he was entrusted by Gregory XVI with the founding of missions in Mesopotamia, and later left for South America. On January 26, 1849, Queen Isabel II nominated him as Bishop of Cuenca. Pius IX confirmed the appointment at the consistory held in Gaeta on April 2, 1849 and consecrated him with great solemnity (cf. Boletín del clero español [Madrid 1850] II, pp. 23 27). He died in Cuenca, on December 4, 1855.

435 Don Lucian Casadevall (Vic 1785-1852), Vicar General and, subsequently, from 1848, Bishop of Vic.

436 Cf. letter to Mrs. Angela Pons, Viladrau, May 29, 1840 (SL, pp. 67-68).

437 The parish priest was Don N. Verdaguer and the associate priest was Fr. José Vilanova (1806-1870), an exclaustrated Trinitarian who hailed from Viladrau. The town was small and had no need for two priests. By sending Claret to Viladrau, his superiors were probably thinking of a way for him to regain his health rather than attend to the needs of the parish. The town is located on the northern slopes of the Montseny massif, (1,700 mts. high) in the province of Gerona.

438 Berga was held by the Carlists since 1837, in which it was sieged by Juan Castells, being conquered on July 12 of that same year by Field Marshal Antonio Urbiztondo, until July 4, 1841, when it was taken by General Baldomero Espartero, after defeating General Ramón Cabrera in the highlands of Nouet (cf. Vilardaga i Cañellas, Jacint, Historia de Berga [Barcelona 1890] p. 325).

439 Although the civil war had officially ended by then, rivalry among citizens persisted and local factions still fought among each other. The situation at Viladrau – as noted by Claret – was one of anguish, for it was open to all incursions by regular troops and to raids by outlaws and marauders. It had been sacked 13 times and attacked by greedy gangs looking for supplies (cf. EC, I, p. 98, note 15 and the introductory note in SL, pp. 67-68).

440 Cf. Mt 8:16; Lk 10:10.

441 These healings, fruit of his pastoral charity, also had his apostolic radiance: “I believe that the Lord did all this… to show the importance of the Word of God that I was preaching” (Autob. n. 181). Among his ex libris, some deal with medicine, but they are after 1854. Fr. James Bofill y Noguer, a noted herbalist and supplier of the most famous pharmacies of Barcelona, initiated the study of medicinal herbs. Even though he used homemade remedies, the people attributed the healings to the sanctity of the young priest. He himself recognized the extraordinary nature of some, attributing them to the people’s faith. A similar occurrence is found in the sermon of St. Peter Damian regarding San Barbaciano (cf. PL 144, 877). “Whatever the cause of these events, it is nonetheless true that the sick were cured of their public and private passions that were heightened by past disturbances and that his healings contributed greatly to submitting once again to the yoke of God’s law” (Aguilar, Francisco de Asís, Vida de Claret, p. 56).

442 At the summit of Matagalls (over Viladrau) stands a great cross, praised by Jacinto Verdaguer and still venerated by the peoples of Montseny. The origin of this cross could be connected to the end of this novena-mission or more likely to a farewell visit on August 8, 1850, where he granted an 80-day indulgence to whoever would pray the creed before this cross.

443 Santa Coloma de Queralt.

444 Jn 11:21: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

445 Cf. Jn 11: 43-44.

446 He left Viladrau – where he stayed a little over eight months – on January 23, 1841. The day before, using a blessing, he had extinguished a fire at the Noguer farmhouse, property of the Bofill family (cf. HD, I, p. 144).

447 The Spanish text reads: me introduje. The original mistakenly reads: me introducí.

448 Espatllat or espatllada: refers to the sick person (man or woman) affected by some sprain or dislocation produced by a sudden movement or gesture, especially in the upper part of the thorax. Neurella: means shoulder blade, specifically the cartilage which ends with the sternum, which corresponds to the area called the pit of the stomach.

449 Cf. Mk 1:33-34.

450 Mk16:18: “They will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.” – When he started preaching as an apostolic missionary, he abandoned all physical remedies and would heal solely with prayers and the imposition of hands, saying that it was not his mission to cure the body, but to save souls (cf. Aguilar, Francisco de Asís, Vida de Claret, p. 55).

451 Cf. Mt 9:22.

452 Cf. Mk 6:18-20; Lk18:42-43.

453 Ps 3:9: Salvation is Yahweh’s!

454 According to the dictionaries of that age, these three words were equivalent. They referred to people who were possessed and tormented by evil spirits (cf. Campuzano, Ramón, Diccionario manual de la lengua castellana [Madrid 1853]).

455 The Spanish text reads tienen - have. The original reads tengan - might have.

456 Cf. Mt 17:21

457 From “at first when I missioned” (Autob. n. 183) until here, almost everything is copied from El colegial instruido (Madrid 1861) II, p. 84, note 2.

458 Cf. Jas. 1:5.

459 In the first nine chapters of the second part, he talks about his formation for the apostolic ministry. In the 23 chapters that follow, of being a missionary, of his life and his activities. These are the more formative chapters of the Autobiography. In order to be a missionary, a canonical mission is required (chap. 1). In order to be a competent missionary, one has to have a righteous intent (chap. 11); look at the examples of the saints (chap. 12-15); use apostolic means (chap. 23-30). In chapter 31, he explains the apostolic mode of travel and lists some towns where he had preached. Chapter 32 complements chapters 19-22.

460 Upon leaving the town of Viladrau – on January 23, 1841 – he fully dedicated himself to his apostolic mission. He was thirty-three years of age. On July 9th of the same year, he obtained the title of Apostolic Missionary from the Holy See. Until 1843 he encountered many difficulties with the civil authorities, but from that year onward, he devoted himself to preaching without interruption.

461 He lived in the house of Don Fortián Bres (1781-1855), his old benefactor and friend.

462 Regarding Claretian obedience cf. Viñas, José María-García Paredes and José Cristo Rey, C.M.F., Our Project of Missionary Life. Commentary on the Constitutions: Vol. II, Fundamental Constitution and Missionary life of the Congregation, Trans. By J. Daries (Claretian Pub., Rome-Quezon City, Philippines 1992) pp. 390-444.

463 He received a great number of requests to do missions in the towns of Catalonia. In 1844, Fr. James Soler writes the following to Don Joaquín Masmitjá: “even if he could be split into twenty or fifty, they would all find an assignment” (cf. Noguer y Musqueras, Tomás, Biografía del Siervo de Dios M. Iltre. Dr. D. Joaquín Masmitjá y De Puig [Gerona 1952] p. 423). And on March 11, 1845 he writes: “Every one asks for him. In January alone, I believe I heard the Vicar General say that he had written no less than seventy letters in response to requests for the Rev. Claret” (ib., p. 428).

464 Is 6:8: “Here am I, send me.

465 Cf. Jer. 1:7-17; Ez. 2:3; Jl. 1:1-2; Jon. 1:2; Acts 22: 21.

466 Jn 20, 21: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

467 Lk 5:5.

468 Cf. Lk 5:6-7.

469 Cf. Lk 5:8-9.

470 Lk 5:10.

471 Cf. Jn 21:5 6.

472 Cf. St. Augustine, Sermon 151 in “Sermons,” Vol. V., (The Works of Saint Augustine, A Translation for the 21st Century), Trans. by Edmund Hill, Augustinian Heritage Institute, New City Press, 2000. (Also available online.) Regarding the uprightness of intent, it is like bricks of good deeds to raise-up the building of sanctity, cf. Boletín de las Conferencias de San Vicente de Paúl 6 (1862) 71.

473 Cf. 2 Tim 3:10-11.

474 Cf. Rom 10:15. – During the regency of Baldomero Espartero (1840 1843), times were “extremely critical and dangerous”, and Claret’s apostolic ministry was hindered at times. On one occasion he told his friend Don Miguel Alibés: “I have stopped preaching because this has been the will of my superior; as for the others, I would not have stepped back, even if they were waiting for me on the very steps of the pulpit with a dagger” (Aguilar, Francisco de Asís, Vida de Claret, p. 61).

475 In chapter II of the first part, he explains the reasons for his zeal, as manifested in his child’s heart, his compassion for sinners who condemned themselves even to the compassion shown by the offended heavenly Father. Now, in the fullness of his formation, he puts forward his reasons objectively: that God may be loved, that He may not be offended, that sinners may not condemn themselves, that all may rejoice in the attainment of salvation.

476 Cf. 1 Jn 2:16.

477 The Spanish text corrects the original with le.

478 Cf. Jn 6:41.

479 Cf. Mt 26:50.

480 Cf. Mt 20:19; Mk 10:34; Lk 18:32-33.

481 Cf. Acts 20:24; Doc Autob. XV, n. 4.

482 Cf. Autob. n. 233.

483 Jer. 2:12.

484 “His wounds are already too many; enough!”

485 From a newspaper circulated in his day, which could not be identified, he clipped a statistic of the world population drawn from Illustrated London News. Therein it stated that 91,554 people died per day, 3,730 per hour and 60 per minute. For his part, he adds: “Thus, each one of our heartbeats coincides with the death of a human creature” (Mss. Claret, XIII, 723).

486 Cf. Job 15:16.

487 Zeph.1:17: “They shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against Yahweh.”

488 Cf. 1 Cor 9:16.

489 Lk 23:34. - Cf. Mss. Claret, X, 394.

490 Cf. 1 Cor 9:16.

491 Mk 16:16: “He who does not believe will be condemned.”

492 Sermones, transl. by Don Domingo Morico (Valencia 1774) II, p. 184. Ex libris.

493 He expounds these same ideas in other notes (cf. Mss. Claret, II, 274 275).

494 Cf. 2 Cor 5:14.

495 “Se, salva l’unione della tua carità, io fossi posta sopra la bocca dell’in­ferno per chiuderlo, talmente che niuno mai più v’entrasse, mi sarebbe gra­tissimo, affinchè in tal maniera tutti i miei prossimi si salvassero” (Beato Raimondo da Capua, La vita di S. Caterina da Siena, volgarizzata da Bernardino Pecci [Roma 1866] Prologo primo, XV, p. 10. Ex libris).

496 Cf. Ps 88:2.

497 Cf. Mt 5:7.

498 Cf. Mt 9:13; Rom 5:8.

499 In describing the prophets and Apostles, Claret unintentionally offers us a self portrait, describing those traits of his own vocation that he has discovered through the light of grace, and that he has endeavored to reproduce in his own life and apostolic action.

500 Cf. Is 1:1.

501 2 Mc 15:14.

502 Traditionally, Ezekiel is deemed to have died a little after 570 BC in Babylon, and was buried in the grave of Sem and Arfaxad, descendents of Abraham.

503 Cf. Dan 6:16-17, 22-23.

504 Cf. 1 Mc 2:58.

505 Cf. 2 Kgs 2:1-11.

506 Cf. Ecc 49:12.

507 Mt 4:23; 11:1; Mk 1:39.

508 Cf. Jn 4: 6-26.

509 Regarding Claret’s style of preaching, his first biographer wrote: “the most important trait of his sermons was the abundance of similarities and comparisons with which he enlivened and rendered more sensible the most abstract concepts, drawing examples from animals, plants, stones, local customs and things, with singular swiftness and timeliness” (Aguilar, Francisco de Asís, Vida de Claret, p. 76).

510 Cf. Lk 2:34.

511 Cf. Mt 16:21-23.

512 Cf. Acts 2:41; 4:4.

513 Cf. Acts 4:19.

514 Cf. Acts 5:41.

515 Cf. Acts 9:15.

516 Cf. 2 Tim 4:2.

517 Cf. 2 Cor 11:23-28.

518 Cf. 2 Cor 7:4; 12:9-10.

519 Cf. Gal 6:14. - It has been said, with good reason, that St. Anthony Mary Claret shares many traits with St. Paul, especially his passionate love for Christ and his apostolic fervor, chiefly reflected in that which is called “the definition of the missionary” (cf. Autob. n. 494).

520 Among the books of Claret’s library we can find: Tricalet, Pedro José de, Biblioteca portátil de los Padres y Doctores de la Iglesia, translated by Fr. D. Francisco Vázquez (Madrid 1790 1791), 10 volumes. For each one of the Fathers it carries: 1) the biography of his life; 2) an analysis of the main works; 3) the most significant dogmatic and moral statements; 4) spiritual maxims. The enumeration of Fathers and Doctors that the Saint offers here follows the order of the work cited earlier. Also preserved are St. John Crysostom, Opera omnia (Venecia 1780) 13 vols; St. Augustine, Opera (París 1831 1832) 9 vols.; and López, Johannes, Epitome Sanctorum Patrum ad sacras conciones per locos communes (Amberes 1614) 3 vols.

521 Confessions, bk. 8, ch. 11, no. 27, (Translated by J.G. Pilkington. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
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