Anthony Mary Claret

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Saint Anthony Mary Claret
Antonio Claret.jpg
Bishop and founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Born (1807-12-23)December 23, 1807
Sallent, Barcelona, Spain
Died October 24, 1870(1870-10-24) (aged 62)
Fontfroide, Narbonne, France
Honored in
Roman Catholic Church
Beatified February 25, 1934, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Canonized May 7, 1950, Rome by Pope Pius XII
Major shrine Vic, Barcelona, Spain
Feast October 24
October 23 (local calendars and among Traditional Roman Catholics)
Attributes Bishop's robe, crozier, an open book, catechism, 2 students beside him at his side and having his bent arm pointing to the sky
Patronage Textile merchants, weavers, savings (taught the poor the importance of savings), Catholic press, Claretians, Dioceses of the Canary Islands, Claretian students, Claretian educators and Claretian educational institutions, technical and vocational educators

Anthony Mary Claret, C.M.F. (Catalan: Antoni Maria Claret i Clarà; Spanish: Antonio María Claret y Clarà; December 23, 1807 – October 24, 1870) was a Catalan Spanish Roman Catholic archbishop and missionary, and was confessor of Isabella II of Spain. He founded the congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, commonly called the Claretians.

Life[edit]

Antony Maria Claret i Clarà was born in Sallent, in the Country of Bages in the Province of Barcelona, on December 23, 1807, the son of a woollen manufacturer. He received an elementary education in his native village, and at the age of twelve became a weaver. Later he went to Barcelona to specialize in his trade, and remained there until he was twenty years old. Meanwhile he devoted his spare time to study and became proficient in Latin, French and engraving.[1]

Recognizing a call to religious life, he left Barcelona. He wished to become a Carthusian monk but finally entered the seminary at Vic in 1829, and was ordained on June 13, 1835, on the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, his namesake. He received a benefice in his native parish, where he continued to study theology until 1839; but as missionary work strongly appealed to him, he proceeded to Rome. There he entered the Jesuit novitiate but had to leave due to ill health. He then returned to Spain and exercised his pastoral ministry in Viladrau and Girona, attracting notice by his efforts on behalf of the poor.[2]

Recalled by his superiors to Vic, he was engaged in missionary work throughout Catalonia. In 1848 he was sent to the Canary Islands where he gave retreats for fifteen months. On his return to Spain, he established the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (The Claretians) on the feast of "Our Lady of Mount Carmel" (July 16, 1849), and founded the great religious library at Barcelona which was called "Librería Religiosa" (now "Llibreria Claret").[2]

His labors bore fruit: Pope Pius IX, at the request of the Spanish crown (Queen-regnant Isabella II of Spain), appointed him Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba in 1849. He was consecrated at Vic in October 1850 and embarked at Barcelona on December 28. The Santiago seminary was reorganized, clerical discipline strengthened, and over 9,000 marriages validated within the first two years of his arrival. He erected a hospital and numerous schools. Three times he made a visitation of the entire diocese, giving local missions incessantly.[2] Among his great initiatives were: trade or vocational schools for disadvantaged children and credit unions for the use of the poor. He wrote books about rural spirituality and agricultural methods, which he himself tested first. In August 25, 1855, he founded the Religious of Mary Immaculate together with Venerable Mother Antonia Paris. The congregation was considered as the first women religious institute in Cuba. He also visited jails and hospitals, defended the oppressed and denounced racism. His work stirred up opposition and at Holguín his cheek was stabbed by a would-be assassin.[3]

In February, 1857, Claret was recalled to Spain by Queen Isabella II, who made him her confessor. He obtained permission to resign his Cuban see and was appointed to the titular see of Trajanopolis. His influence was now directed solely to help the poor and to propagate learning; he lived frugally and took up his residence in an Italian hospice. For nine years he was rector of the Escorial monastic school, where he established a scientific laboratory, a museum of natural history, a library, college and schools of music and languages. In 1868 a new revolution dethroned the Queen and sent her with her family into exile. Claret's life was also in danger, so he accompanied her to France. This gave him the opportunity to preach the Gospel in Paris. He stayed with them for a while, then went to Rome where he was received by Pope Pius IX.[3]

He continued his popular missions and distribution of books wherever he went in accompanying the Spanish Court. When Isabella recognized the new, secular government of a united Italy, he left the Court and hastened to take his place by the side of the Pope; at the latter's command, however, he returned to Madrid with faculties for absolving the queen from the censures she had incurred.[2]

Last years[edit]

In 1869 he went to Rome to prepare for the First Vatican Council. Owing to failing health he withdrew to Prada de Conflent in the French Pyrenees, where he was still harassed by his Spanish enemies; shortly afterwards he retired to the Cistercian abbey at Fontfroide, Narbonne, southern France, where he died on October 24, 1870, aged 62.

His remains were buried in the Catalan city of Vic, in the Country of Osona.

Works[edit]

By his sermons and writings he contributed greatly to bring about the revival of the Catalan language, although most of his works were published in Spanish, especially during his stay in Cuba and Madrid.

His printed works number more than one hundred, including "La escala de Jacob"; "Máximas de moral la más pura"; "Avisos"; "Catecismo explicado con láminas"; "La llave de oro"; "Selectos panegíricos" (11 volumes); "Sermones de misión" (3 volumes); "Misión de la mujer"; "Vida de Sta. Mónica"; "La Virgen del Pilar y los Francmasones."

In addition to the Claretians, which in the early 21st century had over 450 houses and 3100 members, with missions in five continents, Archbishop Claret founded or drew up the rules of several communities of Religious Sisters.[4]

Veneration[edit]

His zealous life and the wonders he wrought, both before and after his death, testified to his sanctity. Information was sought in 1887 and he was declared Venerable by Pope Leo XIII in 1899. His relics were transferred to the mission house at Vic in 1897, at which time his heart was found incorrupt. His grave is visited by many pilgrims.

Anthony Mary Claret was beatified in Rome by Pope Pius XI on February 24, 1934. He was canonized sixteen years later by Pope Pius XII on May 7, 1950. Pope John XXIII included him in the General Roman Calendar in 1960, and fixed his feast on October 23, where it remained for nine years until the 1969 revision of the calendar moved it to the day of his death, October 24, which had been the feast of Saint Raphael the Archangel since 1921.

Educational legacy[edit]

Many educational institutions ranging from kindergarten to undergraduate school are named after Claret and run by the Claretians in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. They are located in Catalonia (Barcelona, Valls and Sabadell), rest of Spain (Madrid,[5] Gran Canaria,[6] Sevilla,[7] and Valencia), Colombia (Cali), Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo), Peru (Trujillo, Huancayo, Arequipa and Lima), Argentina (Buenos Aires[8] and Bahía Blanca), Venezuela (Caracas,[9] Maracaibo and Mérida), Equatorial Guinea (Malabo), Chile (Temuco[10]), Costa Rica (Heredia[11]), the Philippines (Zamboanga City,[12] Quezon City[13]), and India (Ziro,[14] Bangalore[15]).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ William James Callahan Church, politics, and society in Spain, 1750-1874 - Page 298 - 1984 "Antonio Claret (1807-1870), the son of a Catalan textile manufacturer, was ordained in 1835. After serving as a parish assistant, he began a successful career as a missionary in Catalonia during the 1840's. His success as an evangelist .."
  2. ^ a b c d MacErlean, Andrew. "Ven. Antonio María Claret y Clará." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 16 (Index). New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1914. 31 Dec. 2012
  3. ^ a b "Biography of St. Anthony Mary Claret", Claretian Missionaries
  4. ^ [[Pope Pius IX|]] gave definitive approval to his congregation on February 11, 1870.
  5. ^ Claretian order in Madrid website
  6. ^ Claretian order in Gran Canaria website
  7. ^ Claretian order in Seville website
  8. ^ Claretian order in Buenos Aires, Argentina website
  9. ^ Claretian order in Caracas, Venezuela website
  10. ^ Claretian order in Temuco website
  11. ^ Claretian order in Heredia website
  12. ^ Claretian order in Zamboanga City website
  13. ^ Claretian order in Quezon City website
  14. ^ Saint Claret College, Ziro Website
  15. ^ St Claret College, Bangalore Website

External links[edit]

Sources[edit]