St Anthony Mary Claret was the founder of the Claretians (Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary).
He was born on December 23 1807 in Sallent, Barcelona, Spain and died on October 24 1870 at the age of 62 in Fontfroide, Narbonne, France.
We celebrate his feast day on October 24 every year in the Catholic Church.
St Anthony Mary Claret is the Patron Saint of
- Textile merchants
- Dioceses of the Canary Islands
- Claretian students
- Claretian educators
- Claretian educational institutions and Foundations
- Catholic press
|St Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop Biography
|Date of Birth
|December 23 1807
|Place of Birth
|Sallent, Barcelona, Spain
|Bishop and Founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (The Claretians)
|Place of Work
|Spain and France
|Date of Death
|October 24 1870 (aged 62)
|Place of Death
|Fontfroide, Narbonne, France
|By Pope Pius XI on February 25 1934 in Rome
|By Pope Pius XII on May 7 1950 in Rome
|Patron Saint of
St Anthony Mary Claret Life History
St Anthony Mary Claret’s parents were Juan and Josefa Claret who were woolen manufacturers. He was the fifth born out of eleven children.
As a child, Anthony Mary Claret enjoyed very much going on pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fussimanya.
He went to school in his home town and by the time he was 12 years, he had mastered the art of weaving.
When he was 18 years old, he went a step ahead and specialized as a Jacquard loom programmer in Barcelona for two years. At Barcelona, he also studied Latin, French, and engraving.
Anthony Mary Claret began to get worried that his profession was very demanding in terms of time and physical input and this was burning him out.
He started recognizing that he had a call to religious life and left Barcelona. Initially, he wanted to join the Order of Carthusians but after much thought, in 1829, he entered the diocesan seminary at Vic.
After completing his seminary studies, he was ordained as a priest on June 13 1835, during the feast day of St Anthony of Padua.
Anthony Mary Claret was retained in his home parish and continued to study until 1839 when he felt strongly attracted to missionary life.
He went to Rome and entered the Jesuit novitiate but due to ill health, he left and went back to Spain.
Back in Spain, he went to minister in Viladrau and Girona and began to get recognized for his love for service to the poor.
Anthony Mary Claret was recalled back to Vic and was tasked to go throughout Catalonia as an Apostolic Missionary to evangelize. This place had its fair share of destruction from the French invaders.
He traveled on foot from one mission to another and preached eloquently in the Catalan language. His preachings attracted many people in and around Catalonia who were eager to get nourished spiritually, counseled, and also get a confession.
When an anti-clerical group emerged around 1848, Anthony Mary Claret fled for his life and went to the Canary Islands to hide from his enemies. There, for 15 months, he gave retreats and many people flooded the Church to listen to his sermons.
St Anthony Mary Claret returned to Spain and on July 16 1849, during the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, he founded the Claretians (Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary). The congregation was approved on December 22 1865 by Pope Pius IX.
He also started the religious library in Barcelona called “Librería Religiosa”. In modern times it is called “Librería Claret” and has published several million cheap copies of the best ancient and modern Catholic works.
Queen-regnant Isabella II of Spain requested Pope Pius IX to appoint St Anthony Mary Claret as the archbishop of Santiago, Cuba and in 1850 he was consecrated at Vic.
Before he left for Cuba, he went on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fussimanya, to the Virgin of Montserrat, patroness of Catalonia, and to Our Lady of the Pillar, patroness of Spain.
When he settled in Santiago, Cuba, he reorganized the seminary, re-energized the clergy by strengthening their discipline, and encouraged the laity to live a religious and sacramental life. Consequently, within two years over 9000 laypeople wed in the Church.
St Anthony Mary Claret built many schools and a hospital and made sure he visited all the missions in his diocese several times every year. He was a cheerful giver to his missions and the faithful.
He encouraged the poor populace to save regularly in the credit unions he had initiated and also get better skills in trade through the vocational schools he had built for the disadvantaged.
He regularly visited hospitals and jails and fiercely defended those denounced and oppressed through racism.
His defense rubbed shoulders the wrong way with several people and at one time he narrowly escaped death when he was accosted by an assassin.
He escaped with only a stab on the cheek. However, when the assassin was sentenced to death, he managed to reduce the sentence to a term in prison.
After trying and testing various agricultural methods, he wrote books about agriculture and also how to grow spiritually while practicing agriculture.
St Anthony Mary Claret founded the Religious of Mary Immaculate together with Maria Antonia Paris on August 25 1855 in Cuba.
In 1857, Queen Isabella II requested that St Anthony Mary Claret returns to Spain to become her confessor. He was appointed to the titular see of Trajanopolis.
For St Anthony Mary Claret to accept the Queen’s invitation, he gave three conditions:
- His residence would be away from the Queen’s Palace
- He would come to the palace to teach the children and hear to hear the queen’s confession
- He would not undertake any other responsibilities in the palace.
He lived in an Italian hospice and for nine years he became the rector of the Escorial monastic school. Here, he established a library, college, and schools of music and languages, a scientific laboratory, and a museum of natural history.
Unfortunately in 1868, Queen Isabella II’s throne was overthrown by a revolution and the queen and her entire family were sent into exile.
Since St Anthony Mary Claret’s life was also in danger, he accompanied the queen to France where he continued preaching the Gospel in Paris.
After a short while, he left France and went to Rome where Pope Pius IX received him.
When the queen returned to Madrid, Pope Pius IX called Anthony Mary Claret back to Madrid to assist her in resolving the criticisms she had.
Anthony Mary Claret wrote 144 books and other literary works that have been printed. His Claretians congregation currently has over 3100 members living in over 450 houses in five different continents.
In 1869, while St Anthony Mary Claret was going to Rome to prepare for the First Vatican Council, he fell ill along the way.
He first went to Prada de Conflent in the French Pyrenees then thereafter went to the Cistercian abbey at Fontfroide, Narbonne, Southern France.
At the age of 62, on October 24 1870, St Anthony Mary Claret died at the Cistercian abbey in Fontfroide, Narbonne, France.
St Anthony Mary Claret’s remains are preserved in the city of Vic, in the County of Osona, Catalonia, Spain.
In 1899, St Anthony Mary Claret was declared venerable by Pope Leo XIII. He was beatified by Pope Pius XI on February 24 1934 in Rome.
St Anthony Mary Claret was canonized by Pope Pius XII on May 7 1950.
St Anthony Mary Claret Feast Day
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