Saint Anthony Mary Claret



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877 Don Antonio Fernando de Echánove y Zaldívar (Ochandiano, Vizcaya, 1768-Tarragona 1854) was Archbishop of Tarragona from 1836.

878 Phil 1:21: “To die is gain.” - This likely refers to persecutions suffered during the second campaign by the archbishopric of Tarragona in September 1846; one of its manifestations was the attempt of Torredembarra (cf. Fort Cogul, Eufemià, El Beato Claret y el arzobispado de Tarragona [Tarragona 1949] p. 74).

879 Claret repeats this idea with insistence mainly after the attack at Holguín (Autob. n. 573) “Thus the Apostles then began, with prayer, and continued persevering faithfully until the end, sealing with the blood from their veins, the truths they had preached” Apuntes para el régimen de la diócesis [Madrid 1857] p. 30: in Escritos Pastorales, p. 486; cf. Clotet, Jaime, Resumen..., p. 272). A witness testifies: “Being very ill and about three or four months before dying, I observed great poverty in the convent of St. Adrian, where he was living in humble conditions, fulfilling his vehement desires to die a poor man” (statement of Francisco Sansolí: IPM ses. 13).

880 Cf. Autob. nn. 295 296, where he speaks of the subjects of the sermons and of their distribution.

881 Cf. Mt 22:15.

882 On Father Claret’s apostolic activity in Catalonia, James Balmes preserves a very interesting note. We reproduce it in the introduction to the Autob. Doc. Vll.

883 This episode occurred during the month of February 1847.

884 The retraction is signed Saturday, February 20, 1847. Writing to Don Lucian Casadevall, he said: “Help me to give glory to God for having deigned to avail himself of this poor little David in order to knock to the ground this Goliath, who seems to have been sent by the devil himself to cast opprobrium on the clergy and the Catholic people, besides profaning the august Sacrament of the Altar and, by his alleged visions and conversations with God, and with those in heaven, purgatory or hell, was causing God knows what mischief. The angels sing on my behalf, but all hell is ranting and raving against me” (letter dated in Alforja February 22, 1847: SL, pp. 127-128). Regarding the adventure of Miguel Ribas cf. Menéndez y Pelayo, Marcelino, Historia de los heterodoxos españoles, BAC (Madrid 1956) lib. VIII, cap. 2, párrafo VI, tomo II, pp. 1047-1048. (English translation in process see book I: A History of the Spanish Heterodox, Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, Saint Austin Press, Great Britain 2009.)

885 Fr. José Caixal (1803-1879), bishop of Urgel from the year 1853.

886 Fr. Antonio Palau (1806-1862), first bishop of Vic (1853-1857) and then of Barcelona (1858-1862).

887 While the Saint was in the Canary Islands, in December of 1848, the Catecismo de la Doctrina Cristiana explicado y adaptado a la capacidad de los niños... (Librería Religiosa, Barcelona 1848) 484 pp., was published simultaneously in Castilian; and in Catalán, Catecisme de la Doctrina Cristiana explicat y adaptat a la capacitat dels noys y noyas y adornat ab moltas estampas (Barcelona 1848) 430 pp.

888 Camino recto y seguro para llegar al cielo (Barcelona 1862) 39.ª ed., 524 pp.

889 During this period, as brief as it was intense, we have an exhaustive study of the missionary Claret in the Islas Afortunadas: Gutiérrez, Federico, San Antonio María Claret, apóstol de Canarias (Madrid 1969) 586 pp. (2.ª ed. en el año 1998, 526 pp.); and also from the same author: El Padrito: San Antonio María Claret en Canarias (Madrid 1972) 332 pp. (2.ª ed. en 1998, 346 pp.).

890 The war was called “montemolinista” or of the “matinés” or “matiners” (early risers). It began in the Catalonian mountains, and soon extended to all of Catalonia and all of Spain. General Ramón Cabrera (1806 1877), nicknamed “Tigre del Maestrazgo”, with a contingent of volunteers that never amounted to more than 6,000 men, dominated a regular army of 50,000 soldiers for two straight years (1847-1849), eroding the prestige and the energies of six commanders in chief (cf. Oyarzun, Román, Vida de Ramón Cabrera y las guerras carlistas [Barcelona 1961] pp. 160 179).

891 The hospital of San Andres was entrusted to the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in February 1844.

892 Sister María Quintanilla (cf. Gasol, Josep Maria, Sant Antoni Maria Claret i la ciutat de Manresa [Manresa 1970] p. 30) held the position of Mother superior.

893 The Servant of God Don Buenaventura Codina. Born on June 4, 1785 in Hostalrich (Gerona). In May of 1804, he joined the Congregation of the Mission (Paulist). Was ordained Priest in Urgel in September 1809. A missionary in Mallorca in 1810 and in Catalonia and Aragon in 1815. He moved to Badajoz in 1816, where he taught Theology and Philosophy for eleven years. He was jailed in Leganes in 1839. Once released from prison, he moved to France, where he dedicated his time to teaching dogma in the seminary of Chalons-sur-Marne until 1844. He returned to Spain as director of the Daughters of the Charity. He was elected bishop of the Canary Islands on December 17, 1847, and was consecrated in Madrid on February 20, 1848. He passed away on November 18, 1857 (cf. Herrera, José, Vida del Excmo. Sr. D. Buenaventura Codina, misionero de San Vicente de Paúl y obispo de Canarias [Madrid 1955] 318 pp.).

894 It was then capitular vicar Don Lucian Casadevall (1785-1852), which, in this same year would be named bishop of Vic.

895 Fr. José María Ramírez y Cotes was born in Palencia on October 26, 1777. Ordained in 1813, he was an exemplary and devout priest, rector of the church for Italians in Madrid, and a saintly and charitable man. He founded the Forty Hour Mass in Madrid, was of great ecclesiastic and political influence. More than once he refused the bishop’s miter. He was the uncle of St. Mary Michael of the Blessed Sacrament, who Father Claret met on this occasion and encouraged in her apostleship of the college of Desamparadas. Later, the Saint chose Father Claret as her spiritual director (1857-1865). Fr. José Mary Ramírez lived in Plaza de las Cortes, number 4. He died quietly in Madrid on the 23rd of August, 1855. (cf. Encyclopedia Espasa, vol. 49, pp. 529-530; Tóffoli, María Milena, Santa María Micaela del Santísimo Sacramento: Autobiografía, BAC [Madrid 1992] 2.ª ed., pp. 228-229, nota 3).

896 The old building, located on Atocha road, is presently occupied by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Calle Santa Isabel, n.° 52).

897 The consecration of Don Buenaventura Codina took place in the college of San Isidro el Real in Madrid on Sunday, February 20th, 1848. On the 23rd they left Madrid heading to Cordoba (cf. Gutiérrez, Federico, San Antonio María Claret en Córdoba [Madrid 1976] pp. 33 62) and Seville, and on the 6th of March departed to the port of Cadiz.

898 Due to a “lapsus memoriae”, he made a mistake about the month. They arrived at Santa Cruz de Tenerife on Saturday, March 11th. There, he preached on Sunday the 12th, and on the 13th, they sailed to Grand Canary Island where they arrived on the 14th, beginning the great mission in the Cathedral of Las Palmas on the 20th.

899 In this phrase, it is noticed, once again, that the purpose of the Autobiography, is not simply narrative, but primarily educational. For that reason, being so modest in telling what he did, he expands in telling an episode “that the missionaries may learn.”

900 He was in Lanzarote from the 19th of April until the 1st of May, 1849 and ministered in Teguise and Arrecife.

901 Father Salvador Codina Auguerolas was born in 1785. Capuchin in 1802. He was expelled from the convent of Valls (Tarragona) by decree of the Government against the religious orders in 1835. He accompanied his brother Buenaventura to the Canary Islands, where he held the positions of secretary of the chamber and steward of the palace and singer at the Cathedral of Las Palmas from 1860. He passed away in Rome in the month of September 1861.

902 To Don Lucian Casadevall, bishop of Vic, he said: “The Reverend bishop… told me the other day that he wanted to write to Your Excellency to see whether some suitable young professors might want to come here. No doubt it would be a great thing for the glory of God and the good of souls. It breaks my heart with pain to think of how many priests there are in the diocese of Vic with nothing to do, while there is such great need in these Islands.” letter dated in Teror on the September 27, 1848: SL, p.162).

903 Almost certainly on Wednesday, May 2nd. The ship’s name was Magdalena.

904 One day a priest asked him what he had brought from the Canary Islands, and the Saint responded: “Ragged clothes” (statement of D. Juan Codina: IPV ses. 7).

905 “It seems that God has taken me out of Catalonia, where, they said it was impossible to preach Missions for want of peace, and has placed me here, where such abundant fruits are harvested. Blessed Obedience! For I let my self be led by it and give constant thanks to God” (Letter to Fr. José Caixal, Gáldar August 5, 1848: SL, pp. 159).

906 Ps 88:2 - In order to commemorate the centennial of the preaching of Father Claret, from May 1947 until the same month in 1948, there were general missions in the Canary Islands (cf. Gutiérrez, Federico, San Antonio María Claret, apóstol de Canarias [Madrid 1969] pp. 492-523). The love towards the “little Father” – as they called him because he was very short – persisted in the hearts of the islanders, who since 1952 have him as co-patron with the Virgin of Pino (cf. ib., pp. 559-560). The Saint continues blessing those he loved very much, and of whom he said: “they have so stolen my heart that I will feel it deeply when the time comes for me to leave them” (letter to Fr. Lucian Casadevall, Teror September 27, 1848: SL, p. 162).

907 He landed in Tarragona on Friday May 1, 1849. So stated Don Antonio Palau in la Revista Católica: “We are going to announce to our readers, a happy circumstance that we believe is going to boost the development of the work. The founder of Librería Religiosa, the exemplary Catalan missionary, Fr. Anthony Claret, has just returned to Catalonia. On the 11th of May, when we least expected it, we had the pleasure of embracing him. It took only nine days in crossing the long stretch that separates the Canary Islands [Lanzarote] from this port of Tarragona” (Revista Católica 14 (1849) 475). According to the Diario de Barcelona, the following Friday, the 18th, he arrived in the city.

908 Fr. James Soler y Roquer was born in San Juan de las Abadesas (Gerona) on September 13, 1791. A priest in 1825, Major Canon and Magisterial Canon of Vic. Vice rector and then rector of the seminary. Professor of Philosophy, Theology and Holy Scripture. Was named bishop of Teruel on May 20, 1850. He was consecrated in Vic, along with Father Claret, on October 6, 1850. He died a saintly death in Jerica (Castellón) on March 19, 1851, and was buried in the Cathedral of Segorbe. He was a spiritual, wise, and prudent man.

909 Fr. James Passarell was born in Moya (Barcelona) on August 18, 1803. He obtained a degree in Theology at the University of Cervera, and was a page of the bishop of Vic, Friar Raymond Strauch, and relative of bishops Paul of Jesus Corcuera and Don Lucian Casadevall. He was a professor of Philosophy, Theology and Ethics in the seminary of Vic, secretary of chamber and canon of the penitentiary, he was distinguished for his unselfishness and charity towards the most poor and needy. He died a saintly death in Vic on April 23, 1864.

910 With regards to the Congregation of Missionaries, cf. Aguilar, Mariano, Historia de la Congregación de Misioneros Hijos del I. Corazón de María (Barcelona 1901) 2 vols.; Fernández, Cristóbal, La Congregación de los Misioneros Hijos del Inmaculado Corazón de María (1849 1912) (Madrid 1967) 780 pp.; Id., La Congregación de los Hijos del inmaculado Corazón de María. Compendio histórico de sus primeros sesenta y tres años de existencia (1849 1912) (Madrid 1967) 2 vols.; Álvarez Gómez, Jesús, Claretian Missionaries. Return to Orígins, Vol. I. Forward by Aquilino Bocos, J. Daries, Trans. (Quezon city, Philippines 1994) 424 pp.; Claretian Missionaries. Vol. II: Transmission and Reception of the Claretian Charism (Quezon city, Philippines 2000) 709 pp.; Sanz, Vicente, Traces of Claret, J. Vasquez, trans. (Quezon city, Philippines 2001) 181 pp.; Jiménez Sánchez, Manuel, La Congregación de Misioneros Hijos del Inmaculado Corazón de María (Loja, Granada 1997-1998) I, 402 pp.; II, 408 pp.); Bermejo, Jesús, San Antonio María Claret y la Congregación Claretiana: Claretianum 39 (1999) 99-208 (translated into German by Wolfgang Deiminger: Der Heilige Antonius Maria Claret und die Kongregation der Claretiener [Weissenhorn 1999]116 pp.)

“The expression be and be called not required by the context, is evidently reminiscent of the Prima Joannis, 3:1: Behold what manner of charity the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God” (Lozano, Juan Manuel, Mystic and Man of Action, Saint Anthony Mary Claret [Trans. by J. Daries, Claretian Publications, Chicago, 1977] p. 140).



911 The word “plan” (pensamiento in the Spanish text) here has the significance of inspiration come from above, in other words, from the Holy Spirit. Del Venerable Father Claret hom ha dit que als peus de la nostra Verge concebé la fundació dels Missioners del Cor Immaculat de Maria [The Venerable Father Claret said that at the feet of our Lady of Montserrat he conceived the foundation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.] (Albareda, Anselmo, Història de Montserrat, Monestir de Montserrat 1931, p. 376). This opinion lacks basis.

912 After trying it with different titles (cf. Claret, Constituciones y textos sobre la Congregación de Misioneros. Ed. de J. M. Lozano [Barcelona 1972] pp. 13 123), he organized this association of priests of common life to dedicate themselves wholly to the apostolic ministry of preaching the Word of God. They established stability first with a filial and apostolic consecration to the Heart of Mary (1862) and with public religious profession (1870). The name Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary understood due to the influence that the Archconfraternity of the Heart of Mary had in his life and apostolate from 1847, established at the church of Our Lady of Victories in Paris. The Heart of Mary as center of the Virgin’s being: Mother of Christ due to her total love. Immaculate is for Claret an apostolic title; it expresses God’s strategy to defeat the Serpent’s descendants by means of the descent of the Woman. The prophecies of Genesis and Revelations are the panorama of the apostolic action of the Saint. Sons, as an attitude more Christian and theological before the Virgin (cf. Ramos, Clemente, Un apóstol de María [Barcelona 1936] 318 pp.; García Garcés, Narciso, Cordis Mariae Filius [Barcelona 1949] 197 pp.; Juberías, Francisco, Un hijo del inmaculado Corazón de María [Zafra 1951] 292 pp; Barrios Moneo, Alberto, La espiritualidad cordimariana de San Antonio María Claret [Madrid 1954] 465 pp.; Lozano, Juan María, El Corazón de María en San Antonio María Claret [Madrid 1963] 286 pp.; Hernández, José María, Ex abundantia cordis. A study of the cordimarian spirituality of the Claretian Missionaries [Quezon City, Philippines, n.d.] 270 pp.).

913 At the time, the convent of La Merced was a municipal court in Vic; it had previously been a military barracks, until the Mercedarians had been expelled, in the secularization of 1835.

914 Cf. Num. 11:25. - “In the year 1849, a few priests gathered together - animated by the same spirit - with the sole purpose of striving for our greater sanctification and at the same time seeking the salvation of the souls redeemed by our Lord. Jesus Christ” (letter to Papal Nuncio Don Lorenzo Barili, San Ildefonso July 29, 1859: EC, I, p. 1835).

915 Father Steven Sala was born in San Martin de Sescors (Barcelona) on May 28, 1812. Endowed with extraordinary moral and physical gifts, he was a man of great talent. He was educated and cultured, humble, meek and simple. He worked with great zeal in missions and the spiritual exercises. He succeeded the Founder as Superior General (1850-1858). Claret arranged for him to succeed him as archbishop of Santiago of Cuba: “He seemed to me the most appropriate, be it for his personal attributes, or for being of a like spirit as I” (letter to Fr. Antonio Barjau, Madrid January 8, 1858: EC, I, p. 1489). But death came shortly after his appointment. He died with the fame of sanctity in Barcelona on April 18, 1858 (cf. Aguilar, Mariano, Biografía del Siervo de Dios R. P. Esteban Sala [Barcelona 1907] 142 pp.).

916 Father Joseph Xifré was born in Vic on February 18, 1817. Of a generous spirit, strict and energetic. He was a man of deep faith; in love with the Congregation and the Church. He was superior general for more than 41 years (1858 1899). His government constitutes a decisive stage in the history of the Congregation, for whose expansion, mainly in Spain, Africa and America, he worked untiringly until his last days. He died a saintly death in Cervera on November 3, 1899 (cf. Pujol, Luis, Semblanza de un héroe o breve estudio biográfico-psicológico del Rdmo. P. José Xifré Mussach [Vic 1947] 32 pp.; Bocos, Aquilino, Evocando la figura del P. José Xifré Mussach, C. M. F., Confundador y Superior General de la Congregación. Un auténtico Misionero Claretiano: Annals CMF 64 (1999-2000) 231-234; Sidera, Jaume, Lo que hay que saber sobre el Rmo. P. José Xifré, CMF, Tercer Superior General de la Congregación: Nunc, November-December 1998, n. 333, pp. 4-5.

917 Father Dominic Fábregas was born in San Gines de Oris (Barcelona) on July 10, 1817. A man of good talent and apostolic spirit. He was dedicated to giving missions and the exercises. Overcautious in his actions, prudent and devout. He was general consultant to the Congregation and superior of the communities of Huesca, Gracia and Solsona. He died piously in Solsona (Lérida) on October 27, 1895 cf. Anonimous, Breve noticia biográfica del R. P. Domingo Fábregas y Coma, Cofundador de la Congregación: Annals CMF 22 [1926] 161 176, 209 224, 257 272, 305 320, 353-­368, 401 414, 449 463 497 509).

918 Father Manuel Vilaró was born in Vic on the 11th of September of 1816. Father Claret himself draws up his biographical sketch later on (Autob. n. 592). Shortly after the Congregation was founded, he accompanied the Founder to Cuba, where he was Claret’s main secretary and apostolic missionary. He contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and returned to the Peninsula, dying piously in Vic on September 27, 1852 (cf. Vila, Federico, El R. P. Manuel Vilaró y Serrat, misionero y Cofundador de la Congregación: Anales CMF 18 [1921-1922] 218 220, 236 239, 251 2S4, 267 269, 297 300, 330-­336 372 378, 394 395).

919 The Venerable Father James Clotet was born in Manresa (Barcelona) on July 24, 1822. He was a man of good talent and character. Friendly, helpful, prudent, totally committed to God, loved and respected by all. He was a model of piety, apostolic zeal, and Christian virtues. He dedicated his activity to the jails and hospitals and, above all, to the deaf-mutes. He was assistant director and consultant of the Congregation. Father Claret distinguished him with particular affection. He was biographer of the Saint, whom he cared for in his agony. Father Clotet passed away with remarkable fame of sanctity in Gracia (Barcelona) on February 4, 1898 cf. Aguilar, Mariano, Biografía del Siervo de Dios P. Jaime Clotet y Fabrés [Barcelona 1907] 491 pp.; Lozano, Juan Manuel, Un hombre en la presencia de Dios. Estudio sobre la experiencia espiritual del Siervo de Dios P. Jaime Clotet [Roma 1971] 341 pp.; Segura Giráldez, Manuel, Jaime Clotet catequista de sordomudos. Dissertation for Licentiate. Universidad Pontificia Salesiana. Faculty of Theology. Rome 1986, 104 pp. - inédita; Id., P. Jaime Clotet, memoria de su muerte 4-II-1898: Información Provincia de Castilla CMF, February-March 1999, n. 299, pp. 70-74; April; n. 300, pp. 116-119; May-June 1999, n. 301, pp. 174-176; Vilar Bassas, Manuel, Jaime Clotet: memoria de su vida: Información Provincia de Castilla CMF, 150.° aniversario de la Congregación, n. extr., 1999, pp. 364-366.

920 He served meals to his brothers from the first day of the exercises and became the nurse of Father Dominic Fábregas and Don Mariano Aguilar (1810- 1883), a priest-friend who lived with the missionaries.

921 An eyewitness wrote: “The Servant of God (...) said to us: - A great work begins today. Father Vilaró answered smiling: - What can its importance be, being that we are so young and few in number? - You will soon see - said Father Claret. -: and, if we are few, God’s great power will shine brighter” (Clotet, Jaime, Vida edificante del Padre Claret... [Madrid 2000] p. 252).

922 The vice chancellor of the seminary warned the Founder that the Fathers exceeded in mortification, and he had to restrain the ascetic impulses of the first missionaries.

923 Ps 22:4: “Your rod and your staff give me courage.”“Cardinal Hugo understands staff as the wood of the cross, and the rod as Mary’s intercession, which was the rod prophesied by Isaiah” (San Alfonso María de Ligorio, The glories of Mary, part I, chap. 2, par. 3: See note 252. We preserve the outline manuscript of this conversation (Mss. Claret, X, 23 33; cf. Claret, Constituciones y textos sobre la Congregación de Misioneros. Ed. de J. M. Lozano [Barcelona 1972] pp. 563 578).

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