About Saint Anthony Mary Claret:
There is so much to say about Saint Anthony Mary Claret that it is hard to get it all in one page.
Born in 1897, Anthony had spent much of his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona,. He also learned learned Latin and printing. Ordained in 1925 at age 28, Anthony was unable to enter the Jesuit or Carthusian Orders due to ill health. Anthony spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats in Catalonia, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was said that his rosary was never out of his hand.
Claret was then sent to the Canary Islands in March of 1848 and took up the same missionary work he had pursued in Catalonia. On July 16, 1849 he established the Claretian Missionaries with five young priests in this under their original title The Missionary Sons of The Immaculate Heart of Mary, known today as the Claretians. He wrote books and pamphlets throughout his time on the islands. His work was successful, but he was then appointed to head the Archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba, a position he held from 1850 to 1857. At the time of his arrival, the Catholic church in Cuba had drifted far from the Faith and was in need of reform. He began the reform by preaching and hearing of confessions constantly faced opposition for opposing such things as concubinage, and for giving instruction in the Faith to black slaves.
One of his efforts was to encourage family-owned farms that could produce a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. Naturally, this was in opposition to the vested interests in Cuba, that wanted everyone to work on the sugar plantations….the main cash crop in Cuba.
A hired assassin slashed open his face and wrist but did not succeed in killing him. Anthony actually got the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term!
He was recalled to Spain and made chaplain for the queen. Although he wished to stay where he was, he accepted the appointment on three conditions, which were granted to him:
- He would reside away from the palace.
- He would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children.
- He would be exempt from court functions.
In the revolution of 1868, Queen Isabella II was deposed and fled to Paris. Anthony accompanied the Queen and preached to the Spanish immigrants living in the city.
He also participated in the First Vatican Council (1869-70), where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility.
In 1870 he traveled to Prades, France to meet with his exiled missionaries; however, he was forced to take refuge in the Cistercian monastery of Fontfroide, where he died on October 24th of that year.
In 1897 his remains were transferred here to the Mother House in Vic.
Saint Anthony Mary Claret was beatified in 1934 by Pope Pius XI and Canonized on May 7, 1950 by Pope Pius XII. We celebrate the Feast of Saint Anthony Mary Claret on October 24.
About the Claretian House of Spirituality in Vic, Spain:
The remains of St Anthony Mary Claret rest within the crypt of the church at the Claretian Retreat Center in Vic.
Click here for the official website of the Claretian House of Spirituality in Vic, Spain (in Spanish)
In the U.S.A. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. honors St. Anthony Mary Claret in the Saint Anthony Mary Claret Chapel. Archbishop Anthony Mary Claret stands at the center of the Trani marble relief which serves as the focal point of the chapel; to the left, is his archiepiscopal coat of arms
Finding the Claretian House of Spirituality in Vic, Spain:
Address: Rambla Sant Domènec 08500 Vic, Barcelona, Spain