Jesus Bermejo, CMF
English Translation by Joseph C. Daries,cmf
During the past few years, our Congregation has taken giant strides in pursuit of its identity. This return to its roots has allowed it to sense itself as a work of God destined to carry out a mission of universal evangelization. The road that the Congregation has followed on the way to post-conciliar renewal is the one traced out by the Second Vatican Council itself. The three criteria that the Council pointed out – a return to the sources of all Christian life, a return to the original inspiration of the Founder and adaptation to the conditions of the present time (cf. PC 2) – have given a decisive impulse toward renewal, at least on a conscious level. However, on the level of its impact on our life, there is still a good deal to be hoped for.
In this common march towards rediscovering our identity, a necessary point of reference is our Founder, Saint Anthony Mary Claret, the first receiver of our charismatic gift and the model of missionary life not only for Claretians of the present, but also for those of generations yet to come. It is indispensable that we maintain a closeness to our Founder if we are to keep alive and fresh in the apostolic Institute bounded by him the vital sap which has flowed in its veins from the outset, giving it its existence and continuing dynamism in the Church.
Closeness to Father Claret – to his experience and his teaching – is the vital current that puts us in contact with the grace which gives us our distinctive shape among the people of God and situates us among them as a meaningful charismatic reality.
The Claretian texts gathered together in this short anthology are true “sources” of our charismatic being and are aimed at helping both formators and those being formed to “reflect” on the missionary identity of the ecclesial group of persons radically committed to Christ and his Gospel, who have been anointed by the Spirit and sent to evangelize all peoples.
In the life of Saint Anthony Mary Claret, his experience counts above all, but so do his words, which express that experience and serve as a vehicle to help us grasp his inner experience, which has been made flesh and blood in his favourite work. The Congregation, which he founded by divine inspiration, and each of us Claretians who have received a vocation and co-vocation to it, are called to revive the distinctive gift which God has granted as an inalienable inheritance, and to project toward a promise-filled future the missionary experience that gave meaning to our Founder’s existence and draws us too along the same or similar paths of mission in Christ – the first missionary of the Father and the head of all missionaries – following in his footsteps the roads to the Gospel.
In this handful of texts that came from his heart, Saint Anthony Mary Claret reveals to us his own missionary experience: a man of intense faith and unbreakable hope, anointed to evangelize the poor, urged on by the love of Christ that ceaselessly consumed him, the son and minister of Mary – formed in her Heart, which is the forge of love – enamoured of the Church, totally docile to the Roman Pontiff, open to a new world which was urgently in need of the Gospel lest it be drowned in despairing atheism or in desolating indifference.
In this crystal clear and simple pages we will also find some valiant suggestions and guidelines on the religious, priestly and missionary life. There is no lack of direct and indirect indications concerning Claretian vocation, formation and spirituality. They reflect some of his universal and all-embracing evangelizing restlessness, as well as his burning and almost excessive desire to see the Congregation spread throughout the world. And from his very concrete and deeply evangelical view of reality, there arise a number of telling counsels aimed al consolidating the work that he had undertaken counsels that serve not only in times of peace, but also in times of trouble and persecution.
An inner light illumines these texts of Saint Anthony Mary Claret and presides overall: the presence of the Lord Jesus, whose grace and power blazes the trail of a life that is a joyful announcement and burning proclamation of the Gospel of salvation. And here, too, we find the discreet but always significant presence of the Virgin Mary who is, both for Claret and all Claretians, our Mater et Maistra. formator and guide in the manifold and diverse fields of our mission.
May the Father of goodness and mercy grant fruitful growth to this tiny seed sown in the furrows of the Congregation, shower it with graces and make it bear fruit in all of us who by vocation and mission are called and truly are Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If we are rooted in this original experience, the Spirit of our Father and our Mother will always be able to speak in us. And if we are thus impelled by the love of Christ, in the voice and in the life of each Claretian Missionary, the Word which saves and regenerates will be able to resound throughout the world, opening human hearts to faith and impelling them to apostolic charity.
Jesùs Bermejo, CMF Rome, March 31, 1989
These two booklets in the series, “Notebooks on Claretian Formation”, n.. 4-A and 4-B, form a whole made up of notes taken for the most part from the three volumes of the Epistolario Claretiano (Madrid, 1970 and 1987). They have been grouped in four parts:
1) the missionary experience of Claret
2) the spirit and mission of the Claretian
3) the vocation and formation of the missionary
4) various thoughts.
In each of these parts, chronological order has been followed. I have added the titles.
MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE OF CLARET
1. Universal Spirit
“Your excellency can have no idea of the pain that rent my heart at this nomination [as Abp. of Cuba], and that for two reasons: first, because I have neither the taste nor qualifications for dignities; second, because it dashes all my apostolic plans, which I will confidentially share with Your Excellency in a few words.
“Seeing the great dearth of evangelical and apostolic preachers in our Spanish territory, the people’s great desire to hear the word of God, and the many requests I have received from all parts of Spain to go and preach the Gospel in their cities and towns, I determined to gather and instruct some zealous companions, so as to be able to do through others what I could not do by myself alone. Thanks be to God, my idea is off to such a good start that I find myself with fifty fine clerical disciples, some of whom will turn out to be very gifted preachers. But it is understood that these gentlemen stand, so to speak, on my shoulders, so that if I withdraw because of this nomination, they will all fall to the ground, because they are still too weak to stand on their own”.
“Besides, I would thus be tying and pinning myself down to a single archdiocese, whereas my spirit goes out to the whole world. But even on that small dot on the map I wouldn’t be able to preach as I would like to, because I have seen with my own eyes how many business aftairs an Archbishop must attend to. It seems to me that I would be best to elect another, and then if you wish, I couid go there to preach missions for a time”.
“Your Excellency can meditate on this and if, after these and other possible observations, you know that it is God’s will that I accept the archbishopric, then feel tree to send me, fon in imitation of my Divine Master I will, with His most holy grace, obey even to death, death on a cross” (Letter to the Papal Nuncio, Mons. Giovanni Brunelli; Vic, August 12, 1849: EC III pp. 40-42; cf. EC I, pp. 304-06).
2. His state of mind
“God only knows how I find myself. “ Tribulationes sunt mihi und ique’ (I am beset by tribulations on all sides: Dan. 13:22). Yesterday I felt tempted to die, because melior est mors quam vita amara” Better death than a life of bitterness: Sir. 30:17]. I need all the anchors of prayer in order not to suffer shipwreck in the storm I am in. I have many great things to do and they do not allow me to work as I ought. The weightiest measures are bearing down on me, and I don’t know how to escape them, yet they tell me that it if I don’t do them, nobody will, especially in view of their serious consequences for the glory of God and the salvation of souls…” (Letter to Canon Joseph Caixal; Vic, February 16, 1850: EC I, pp. 457-58).
3. The Weight of the Cross
“On October 22nd, the Queen, by way of her Minister of Government, Mr. Pidal, sent me an Order in which, among other clauses, there is one that reads as follows: ‘Anthony Claret, Archbishop of Cuba… I have just named you Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic…’ I have resisted it as much as I could, but I have not been able to escape. Ah, my God. If one cross was enough to take my Saviour’s life, what will become of me with so many crosses?” (Letter to Fr. Fortian Bres; Madrid, October 24, 1850: EC i, pp. 423-24).
4. Obedience and Poverty
“No worldly interest brought me here from Spain. I resisted at the outset, insisted when I was repulsed, and accepted the third time only out of obedience. I have never possessed anything. Today, when I see myself invested with a dignify that is rightly repugnant to me, and whose weight is much heavier than my powers, I continue to place myself in the hands of Providence. Beneath the veneer of my dignity, I see nothing but misery. I was poor, lived poor and remain poor. Obedience alone, I repeat, was able to beat me down; but only on the supposition that this would add greater fuel to charity, to the love of God and my neighbours, in which I wish to burn”.
“If the day comes when my hands are tied from doing good or when my voice is not heard, whereas my aims, which are founded on justice and on charity itself – the only working incentives that I acknowledge – if that day comes, then I will leave my post and will surely lose nothing in my person, since my character as a missionary is all I need in order to be poor, to love God, to love my neighbors and to win their souls and my own as well” (Letter to Gen. Gutiérrez de ia Concha; Santiago, Cuba, March 28, 1851: EC I, p. 484).
5. The Religious Press
“Another of the means I have availed myself of to do good have been good books, either by giving them away as presents, or by exchanging them for bad books. in this way I have removed the poison from their [the Cubans] hands and replaced it with the savoury and salutary bread mainly of the “Catechism Explained” and the Straight Path”. One can hardly explain their enthusiasm to procure them, their delight in reading them and the profit they derive from them. Seeing how much these books profit them, I am striving to have a copy in every home, although they cost me very many dollars, several thousand, thus far. But I consider it money well spent, so long as souls are being saved, for this is why God sent me, and not to save or make money” (Letter to Bp. Lucian Casadevall of Vic; Santiago, April 7, 1852: EC I, p. 631).
6. His desire to Fulfil the Mission Entrusted to him
“Happy will I be if I reach the grave after seeing my efforts and labours crowned, with the mission planted and regularized, with public education well directed, with the manners of my beloved flock corrected by these means, and having thus contributed my share towards assuring the true peace and fortune of this precious isle of the Antilles. Then I will have fulfilled my arduous ministry in the best way possible, and I will also have satisfied my sacred commitments to my country and my queen” (Letter to Isabella Il; Manzanilla, May 24, 1852: EC I, p. 652).
7. Misslons In the Archdiocese of Santiago, Cuba
“Since I have arrived in the diocese, all those who have governed it can tell what Archbishop Claret’s tasks are. I did not wait to become acclimated, but began at once to work, immediately opening the holy mission and pastoral visitation in the capital. I have been in Cuba a year and a half now, and I have already visited and given missions in the greater part of my vast diocese, crossing holiing plains and vast, marshy savannahs where nobody has gone before, sometimes having nothing to eat, or other times taking cover under tree to take some little rest, without leaving a corner or cranny untouched by the knowledge and worship of Jesus Christ… “.
“We nevertheless consider all our efforts very well spent, so long as we fulfiil our holy ministry as best we can” (Letter to Isabella Il, October 22, 1852: EC I, pp. 109-10).
8. “I have fulfilled my mission”.
“For the moment I find myself well enough, thank God. On March 20th I finished my missions and pastoral visit of the whole diocese, and the fruits have been most copious, though mixed with labours a plenty; but we have suffered it all for God. By the next post, I am thinking of writing to His Holiness, giving him a reasoned account of the mercies which the Lord has granted these people
through his unworthy and useless servant. At the same time I was thinking of writing to His Holiness and the Queen for permission to resign my post and retire to my college in Catalonia [i.e., Vic], or else to the Society of Jesus, if they want me, because I am weary of being an archbishop and have already fulfilled my mission on this island” (Letter to the Papal Nuncio, Mons. Giovanni Brunolli; Santiago, April 20, 1853: EC III, p. 130).
9. Desires to resign from the Archdiocese
“How do you feel about becoming a bishop? When will they consecrate you? God grant you more pleasure in it than He did to me, for I can assure you that far me it is a very heavy and bitter charge. During my retreat and every day at prayer I make a resolution to conform myself to the will of God; but almost every minute during the day I forget my resolution and being wanting to shake of the yoke and escape or flee. God give me the strength to do His most holy will!” (Letter to Bishop-Elect Joseph Caixal; Santiago, April 27, 1853: EC III, p. 139). 10. Activities during the First Pastoral Visitation of the Archdiocese I have performed nine thousand marriages between those living together in public concubinage, thus legitimating more than forty thousand natural children. I have reunited about three hundred broken marriages. I have not left a parish unvisited, or a hamlet where I have not, either personally or through my companions, given a holy mission. Thus it is that more than eighty thousand persons have received communion at mission during the General Communion Service alone, while something in the order of three hundred thousand have made their confession. Some seventy-eight thousand have been confirmed, etc…
l have handed out more than a hundred thousand books, almost all of them at my own expense, and have withdrawn countless perverse books from circulation. I availed myself of the artifice of offering a good book in exchange for a bad one. In towns where there are at least three clergy I have established conferences two times a weeks, according to a simple but effective plan. I myself direct them when I’m there, and in Santiago my vicar handles them when I’m absent. In the cities, I have managed to stop the clergy from wearing secular clothing by imposing grave penalties on those who break this rule. In the country I cannot be sure that they comply with my orders. Every year I preach a retreat to the clergy; even the Canons have made them… in Santiago, as in every other place, I stay no more than is indispensable, since I am indebted to all…”.
“I have done what I could, drawing up what I deem a timely plan by carrying out the reform of customs. And as I am not allowed to resist those legal dispositions [al interracial marriages] which are so repugnant to my conscience and which I realize may give rise to clashes that will be most prejudicial to the public good, I believe that it is my duty to resign as archbishop and go where I believe God is calling me, to continue promoting His holy glory under other conditions, free all the burden of the episcopate” (Letter to the Attorney General, Don Lorenzo Arrazola; although this letter bears no indication of date or place, it must have been written around the end of May, 1853: EC I, pp. 830-32).
11. Huckster or Prelate?
“As far what you tell me about selling rosaries, medals and books, I see nothing wrong with it. But I would notI like it to be said that I am involved in it, otherwise I will later be told that I am a huckster and not a prelate, that I am in search of money rather than souls” (Letter to Fr. Palladio Currius; Puerto Principe, September 4, 1853): EC I, p. 880).
12. ” I am Claret and I speak clearly”
“I am quick to support and protect the helpless and to defend those who aro unjustly persecuted; but l have to know the truth, far I can assure you that I know nothing positive concerning either the Bishop of Havana or you. Only a few things have vaguely come to my hearing concerning you and him”.
“If you are innocent, then I will be quick to lend you my full protection, as i do to any good priest; but if what I have heard about you is true, I am Claret and I speak clearly: don’t count on me, far you cannot be unaware of the fact that I have removed some priests from my diocese far lesser crimes that the ones that have been reported of you, although far the moment I do not say whether they are true or false. It would be best for you to set matters right according to the law, and then you may be sure that I will do you full justice, if you deserve it. But as I do not know the truth of the matter, I should not blame a prelate merely on the strength of a letter written to me by an upset subject who has been chastised” (Letter to Fr. Santiago Làpez de Sanromàn; October 13, 1853: EC III, pp. 160-61).
13. Reaction to the Attempt on his life at Holguin
“I was bathed in blood, but the surgeons arrived at that moment and, through God’s mercy, I am already almost well again. The assailant was caught in flagrant; I pardoned him and declared in a loud voice that I pardoned him. I have prayed to God for and have asked the authorities not to punish him. Ah, Most Holy Father The sweet consolations that Jesus and Mary lavished on me that night were beyond all explaining. ‘With the Lord’s grace I am ready, Most Holy Father, to suffer other wounds and even death itself, should it be the will of God. But I do not wish to be rash or to expose myself voluntarily to remain in danger”.
“The man who wounded me is a foreigner who does not even know me personally. In my earlier visit to this city, I did him a great act of mercy, so he cannot have any sort of resentment against me. The evil did not come from his own heart, but was suggested to him. I know that in my diocese there are many Herods and Herodias who are living in sin, and since I am doing the work of John, they would gladly seek my head. There are also some priests who are whitened sepulchres, like those of the Hebrews, and that just as the latter plotted the death of Jesus, so these would plot my death, for the disciple is not greater than his master [Mt 10:24], and if one attempt fails, they’ll try another until they have their way, for it is written: ‘The pride of those who hate Thee increases continually’ [Ps 74:23]. I have come, then, to your Holiness, in order to learn the will of God, and that you may deign to indicate to me what I ought to do, whether it be to resign and retire, or to continue here until the sacrifice is consummated. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” [1 Sam 3:9] (Letter to Pus IX; Holguin, February 23, 1856: EC I,pp. 1174-76).
14. Joy over the Attempt on his Life
“I hope that you will all help me to give thanks to God for the unfathomable benefit of being able to shed a little of my blood out of love for Him who shed all of his for me, and with it to seal the truths of the Holy Gospel and the praises of Mary Most Holy, which I so delight in preaching.
“Ah, my dearest brothers, How sweet a thing it is to shed one’s blood for Jesus and for Mary. I can assure that during this whole happening I have suffered nothing and have rejoiced greatly, very greatly. Only yonder in heaven can there be greater rejoice; here on earth there can be no greater spiritual pleasure. I remain so delighted that I would !like to undergo it a second time and that the second blow would be more successful than the first”.
“Nevertheless, I have brought the matter to the attention of the Holy Father and shall do whatever he tells me. Meanwhile, help me to give thanks to God and to Mary Most Holy, my most sweet Mother. Be so good as to visit and give my regards to the Bishop of Vic and to the reverend Fathers of La Merced, greeting them all by name. Have courage and trust in God and in the Most Holy Virgin, our dear Mother. Ah! How much she loves us! (Letter to some priests of Vic; Santiago, May 30, 1856: EC !II, pp. 248-49).
15. Plan for Missioning in Spain
“Her majesty wanted me to be Archbishop of Toledo, but, thank God, I have escaped it. God grant that I may escape from all the other points. It is my intention to be an archbishop in partibus and thus I will be free for my plans, which are to establish a house where I can live with my priest companions in order to devote ourselves entirely to missions and spiritual exercises throughout Spain” (Letter to Fr. Anthony Barjau; Madrid, June 5, 1857: EC I, p. 1352).
16. Apostolic Hopes for the Future
“I am here [in Madrid] fulfilling my ministry; I don’t know whether it will last very long; nor do I know whether I’ll return to Cuba; it seems not. Moreover, I have no diocese here.
“It seems that I will have the title of archbishop in partibus, so that I can be freer to commit myself to missions with my companions from La Merced in Vic, though I won’t be living there, but here in Madrid, where we will place a house made up of some of them from there, and we’ll travel out to both Castiles, etc., etc. Later I will give retreats to the clergy and people, and then missions. How does that strike you? (Letter to the Bishop of Urgell; Madrid, June 15, 1857: EC I, p. 1361).
17. Desire to Do God’s Will
“It seems that the government would like to propose me for some diocese of the [Spanish] peninsula. I am in a holy indifference, not desiring to do anything but the will of God, and so I am asking Your Holiness Io tell me what I ought to do in order to please God” (Letter to Pius IX; Madrid, July 2, 1857: EC III, p. 295).
18. The Slave of Mary
“I know that for the time being I neither can nor should leave Madrid, and for the same reason I neither should not can accept another archbishopric. If I did accept being an archbishop, it would be one ‘in partibus’. But since this is not so, I remain the Archbishop of Cuba, and God knows whether we’ll be seeing one another again. You already know that I have no will of my own; I am a slave of my Lady, Mary Most Holy, and a slave can have no other will than that of his Lady, whom he serves” (Letter to Fr. Manuel J. Miura; Madrid, September 6, 1857: EC i, p. 1408). 19. The Hand of Providence
I do not doubt that divine Providence has brought me to this city [Madrid] for the good of the Church, making use of me, its most miserable instrument. Because bishops have been nominated through my counsel, blasphemies and impure speech and pictures have once again been prohibited, and a good number of public women have been arrested, etc., etc. May it all be for the glory of God” (Letter to Fr. Dionisio Gonzàlez; Madrid, November 1, 1857: EC I, p. 1449).
20. The Value of Silence
“I would not like to fall into the defect that Father Rodriguez reprehends when he says that some people are like the hen who, after laying an egg, cackles, and they come and take away the egg she has laid. Experience has taught me that to advance in perfection one must be a friend of silence, and so I neither speak nor write without need and always with the few words possible. It seems to me that if you took a few doses ot this prescription that has done me so much good, they would make you I eel better and would help you advance more readily in perfection…
When I consider that the eternal Word spoke and all things were made, so eloquent and effective was His word, and then contemplate Him keeping a deep silence in the womb of Mary, being born a mute babe who only opens His lips to cry… What silence He kept throughout the course of His life¡ Even at the end of His life the judge himself was shocked at Jesus’ silence. Who would not, then, be a friend of silence?” (Letter to Fr. John Nepomucene Lobo; Madrid, December 5, 1857: EC I, pp. 1465-66).
21. Obedience to the Church and to the Pope
“As the Lord in His mercy has instilled in me such great docility, submission and obedience to the Church and its leader, all that Your Holiness need do is to choose anyone you please to examine all that has happened. Then, if you deign to tell me what I ought to do, I will do it most gladly and promptly, since I desire nothing more than to do His most holy will in everything and through everything” (Minutes of a letter to Pius IX; December 26, 1859: EC il, pp. 88-89).
22. To Announce the Good News Throughout the World
“Seeing that I could not go to Rome soon, I have chosen to send Father Pailadio Currius, my companion, so that in my name he might kiss your foot and ask your holy blessing. I beg Your Holiness to tell this priest what you want me to do, and I will do it at once, as if God Himself were commanding me”.
“My Father, I must tell Your Holiness that at present I want nothing else than to work and suffer for Jesus Christ. I am ready to go out and preach the holy Gospel throughout the world and to seal with my blood the maxims of our Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion. I come to Your Holiness as Saul came to Ananias, and I say with Samuel, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’ [1 Sm 3:9], and I will do whatever Your Holiness decides.
“If Your Holiness does not see fit to answer me in writing, you need only speak to the bearer of the present letter, who is a priest in whom I have complete trust and who has been in my company for several years” (Letter to Pius IX; Madrid, December 27, 1859: EC III, p. 377).
23. To Preach the Word
“When I see the need there is for divine doctrine and the hunger people have to hear it, I begin to tremble in order to be off and running throughout the world in order to preach the divine word. The Queen grows more attached to me every day and this afflicts me, because I care see that it is a cord that binds me. But I trust in the Lord that when He chooses, he will arrange everything according to His liking and pleasure” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Madrid, April 13, 1860: EC II, pp. 131-32).
24. Love for the Roman Pontiff
The love I profess for Your Holiness moved me to send a clear number at my household, Father Palladio Currius, a very good priest, so that in my name he might kiss Your Holiness’ foot and offer you my regards and person. I know that Your Holiness received him with kindness. But as I am always thinking, Your Holiness and commending you to God continually, allow me to write you this letter in order to unburden my heart, which is oppressed over the sufferings of Your Holiness.
Jesus Christ did not ref use the visit of an angel in the Garden, nor will Your Holiness refuse the consolation which is offered him by the least of his archbishops. Ah, Holy Father¡
A few towns do not want you as king. They have spurned you. They have treated you as the Hebrews treated Samuel; but God also tells you as He told him: ‘Non enim te abjecerunt, sed me, ne regnem super eos’ [1 Sam 8:7: For they have not rejected you, but me, lest I reign over them’]. Some may have spurned you! …It is painful, yet God sometimes permits schisms and heresies so that those of proven virtue may be manifested and shine like stars in the dark of night. When the head is struck, the hands fly to cover and protect it. Unholy people have rained harsh blows on Your Holiness, who are our head and that of the whole Church; and we, like hands, fly swiftly to protect you with our prayers, persons and goods. Yes, Most Blessed Father, yes, be consoled; you have all ou prayers every day and night. My insignificant person is at your disposal. With great desire I have desired to be able to run throughout these lands and the whole world, preaching the Gospel of peace, and to seal its holy truths with the blood of my veins. My goods, too, are yours, my Father. Through the good offices of the Lord Nuncio I am sending you a thousand dollars…
I would follow the counsel of Tobias, who told his son: if you have much, give much; if little, give even that little with a good will’ [Tob 4:8]. Receive. then, Your Paternity, my good will. I doubt not that Your Holiness will better appreciate the kind thought than the quantity, just as Jesus appreciated the poor widow’s mite”.
“HoIy Father, I am totally at Your Holiness’ disposal; treat me as your and give me your holy blessing” (Letter to Pius IX; Madrid, May 23, 1860: EC Il, pp. 137-39).
25. Claret’s “Great Mission”
“I am inclined to resign [as president of EI Escorial]… The persecution they are raising against me grows greater every day. I believe that the Lord is usng these means so that I may be able to leave Spain and begin the great mission for which He destined me some time ago” (Letter to Don Dionisio Gonzàlez; Aranjuez, ApriI 9, 1861: EGlI, pp. 257-58).
26.Attitude in the Face of illnesses
“I understand what you’re telling me about your infirmities and indispositions. In my opinion you should disregard them and not consult doctors, but rather, leave yourself in the hands of Jesus and Mary. That is what I do and it has worked for me. Even though I have not called them doctors have very often come to speak to me about I don’t know how many things, and I have answered that I am grateful for their concern, but would rather they leave me alone, since Jesus and Mary were taking care of me…
“Not a few times I have been hard pressed, but I would not let that stop me from working, and at such times the enterprise has turned out even better. So true is this that after an illness I have felt even stronger, as the Apostles tells of himself [1 Cor 15:43; 2 Cor 12:9]. The same happened to Saint Teresa and others.
“I know that God sometimes allows this in order to let us know that the work is entirely His. Sometimes the devil does it to see if we will be frightened and give up doing God’s work. Courage, then, and onward. Do not be afraid. Jesus and Mary will make it all turn out for the good. We are working for them” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xitré; San ildefonso, September 9, 1861: EC II, p. 379).
27. The Bitterness of Being in Madrid
“I am still going through my bitterness in Madrid. I am happy everywhere else but in Madrid. It is my Calvary. Nevertheless, I don’t want to come down from the cross until they take the nails out” (Letter to Saint Micaela of the Blessed Sacrament; Madrid, November 19, 1861: EGlI, pp. 397-98).
28. In the Face of Slanders and Persecutions. For some time now in these parts I have been much persecuted and slandered. Thanks be to God, it seems to me that for the moment I am handling this test well, with the Lord’s help. To encourage myself, I often read Meditation 23 of the Exercises of St. Ignatius, which I explained and edited. Read it and you will see how many powerful motives we have for being patient” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Madrid, December 30, 1861: EC II, 408-09).
29. Yearnings for Universal Evangelization
In this whole work [The Art of Ecclesiastical Chant] the aim I have set before me is quite clear: to make God known, loved, served and praised, both well and wisely. It is most fitting that we pray and work. I am most eager to go forth, running everywhere Iike a madman, but the Lord has told me clearly that I should wait” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Madrid, January 30, 1862: EC II, p. 441).
30. A Fine Instance of Humility
“I feel in my soul that I have displeased or offended you, and I here and now beg your pardon and tell you with all the sincerity of my heart that by what I said in my letter I have no intention of grieving you, reproving you or asking the impossible. I was just speaking with my characteristic frankness and clarity, and with the ingenuousness of a friend talking to a friend whom he likes and cares for a good deal”.
“Perhaps I may not have expressed myself well, and you may therefore not have understood the meaning of what I was saying to you…
‘With all submissiveness I ask your pardon for the bad time I have given you, and I am relying on your kindness to overlook it and forgive me” (Letter to Don Dionisio Gonzàlez; San Ildefonso, JuIy 30, 1862: EC Il, pp. 506-07).
31.Love for the Pope
“I, although the least of my brethren and the most unworthy of bishops, publicly manifest that my vowed position [On the Papal States] is the same as that of my brother bishops; that in all things and through all things I feel as they do and speak as they do; and with them, I wiIl always remain in adherence to the Chair of St. Peter and to your sacred person, who I respect and love with all the affection of my heart” (Letter to Pope Pius IX; San liciefonso, August 22, 1862: EC III, p. 416).
32. Tireless Activity
“You can form no idea of the very many occupations I have. Every day I am already up at three, and despite adding night to day, I still don’t have enough time for the things which, without looking for them, befall me”…
“We all strongly share your own sentiments, you who used to say we should stifle evil with an abundance of good” (Letter to Bishop Caixal of Urgoil:
Madrid, January 28, 1863: EC II, p. 621).
33. Missionary Restlessness
‘I find myself in this court because they tell me that is the will of God; but I suffer it under violence. Every day I have to make acts of resignation and conformity to the will of God. As ever, my desires are to be rushing throughout the world, preaching the holy Gospel and to seal the Gospel truths with my blood, like my divine Master, my beloved Jesus. I have no rest, nor can my soul find any consolation, save in running and preaching.
“When we were travelling throughout Andalucia with Their Majesties, then I was alive. But in this court I suffer a great deal, and thank God I can keep occupied, otherwise I would die of suffering. But the work I really sigh for is to travel those towns where there is so little preaching and where it is so needed. But since I can’t go myself, I manage to have others go: my dear brethren called the Sons of the immaculate Heart of Mary. You must already know that there are three houses: one in Vic, another in Gracia near Barcelona and yet another in Segovia, and among them all, there are more then thirty of them and all of them are working admirably. Every month those who remain at home – for the others go out on mission – give two sets of retreats: one to priest and the other to the laity. We have had to make many repairs to prepare rooms for the retreatants, since there was not enough room for the many who attended the retreats. The savings I had scraped together have been eaten up by these repairs” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Madrid, February 23, 1863: EC Il, pp. 626-27).
“I hope I can rely on you to tell the minister of the press not to allow the newspapers to busy themselves about my insignificant person or my writings. “You know that I have never meddled in politics, yet with no further ado, they take aim at me as if I were their worst enemy, and since they can’t find anything to attack me for, they are inventing whatever they please”.
“A few days ago the newspapers announced that I was no longer Her Majesty’s confessor, an item that the journalists simply made up, since neither I nor Her Majesty knew nothing of it.
“I am told that the newspapers are now taken up with a book called the “Key of GoId”, which I wrote some ten years ago, not for the people, but for new confessors… From this, so I am told, they have taken occasion to insult me, and not only me, but what I feel most deeply about, namely, my doctrine and our religion”.
“Hence, minister, I hope that you will put an end to such excesses; otherwise I m ust tell Her Majesty to look for another confessor, for I am not ready to put up with further insults. I am not keen to remain in Madrid; on the contrary, I have for some time been taking measures to leave it” (Letter to the Minister of Government; January 13, 1864: EC Il, pp. 742-45).
35. Persecutions Suffered
“You can have no idea how hard hell is working against me: the most atrocious slanders, words, works, death threats; it is throwing everything into play, to see how it can discredit or frighten me. But with God’s help I pay it no heed” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, January 15, 1864: EC II, pp. 746-47).
36. Calm in the Face of Slanders
“As for the slanders they are so abundantly lavishing on me, they cause me no pain; rather, they give me a very great joy in the Lord, as you can see in the little blue-covered booklet [Comfort br a Slandered Soul] which am pleased to enclose, which I wrote to that effect” (Letter to Bp. Caixal of Urgell; Madrid, March 10, 1865: EC II, p. 864).
37. Apostolic Daring
“On March 5th I began the missions, which will last until the Feast of St. Joseph, when there will be a General Communion. Thanks be to God, very many people are attending and profiting from them. Hell is fiercely waging war on me. When the news that I was going to preach in these missions was barely known, I was advised not to preach, since I was told – and I believe it – that my life would be in danger. But I am gladly ready to give my life for the love of Jesus and the salvation of souls” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Madrid, March 12, 1865: EC II, pp. 867-68).
38. Preference for the People of Holguin
“Because I care for you so much, I prefer that you would stay in Holguin rather than become a prebend in [Santiago] Cuba. The climate at Holguin is better for you than that of [Santiago] Cuba. Where you are, things are peaceful, whereas, you know how things would be in the Chapter there.
Therefore stay calmly where you are; work as best you can, for God will reward you for it and the people will be grateful. Especially since where you are, the climate is healthy and the people are holy. I love them dearly, more than the rest of the diocese, since it was there that the Blessed Virgin did me the great favour of allowing me to shed my blood”.
“Greet them for me. Tell them that I commend them to God every day and ask them to do the same for me until we meet again in heaven” (Letter to Fr. John Peypoch, Pastorof Holguin; Madrid, May 8, 1865: EC Il, pp. 88-81).
39. Solidarity with the Episcopate
During my trip to Catalonia I read that the newspapers are saying that the Archbishop of Trajanopolis does not feel as the rest of the Spanish bishops do, and that he reproved what they had said in their statements regarding the recognition of the Kingdom of Italy.
As such a posture might occasion some lessening of esteem for my dearest brothers the bishops, I am stating that I feel as they feel, and that, if I had been in their place, I would have done what they have done and I would have said what they have said in their statements” (Open Letter; Gracia, July 25, 1865: EC II, pp. 913-14).
40. On the Religious Library
“While the enemies of religion are keeping watch, we are sleeping. They keep the presses sweating day and night, on workdays and holidays, while we abandon the poor Religious Library which has done so much good and could still do more, if only you and the brethren lent it a helping hand” (Letter to Bp. Caixal of Urgell; August 22, 1865: EC II, p. 923).
41. Fidelity to the Pope
‘Within three weeks I am thinking of leaving for Rome, in order to consult with the Holy Father on whether or not I should return to Her Majesty’s side; for I have been given so many strong reasons for either course of action, that I don’t know what to do. Hence, in order to make up my mind, I have thought it is best to consult the Pope himself, and I will do what ho tells me, even though it might cost me my life” (Letter to Fr. Carmelo Sala; Gracia, September 29, 1865: EC II, p. 937).
42. Serenity in the Face of Danger
“This church and house of Mont Serrat in Madrid where I am living, are located on a little square where five streets converge. The revolutionaries arrived very early in the morning and erected live barricades – and at the entry of each street – and in a short time began firing, so that the rebels and the disloyal troops began clashing with the loyal troops. I withdrew to the sacristy of the main altar of the Blessed Virgin and remained there praying to Mary Most Holy from the morning until in the afternoon, when order was restored and the firing stopped. There were many dead, wounded and prisoners. But nothing happened to me, as I have said. I offered my life to God and remained safely by myself, praying and petitioning God for all of them” (Letter to Canon Manuel J. Miura; Madrid, JuIy2, 1866: EC II, pp. 1020-21).
43.From Death to Life
“The Lord has made you take many sips from the cup of His passion. By sips’ I mean the deaths of your grandparents, parents, your aunt the nun, and finally, of Leopold. But you must know that it is God who has so arranged; therefore, may His most holy will be done. Besides, as you know quite well, we are all mortal, and that no one can go to heaven to enjoy the reward of his labours, unless he first dies. It is death, then, that opens not only the door of our prison cell of the body, but also the gate of heaven”.
“Let us consider that we ourselves must die, and thus we must see to it that our death may be a good one, and it will be good in as much as our life has been good” (Letter to Mrs. Alberta Fuster; Madrid, September 27, 1866: EGli, pp. 1058- 59).
44. Claret’s True Vocation
‘In this court the people oppress me greatly. The only thing I can do is offer it to the Child Jesus. Oh, how I long to leave the palace. Like the kings from the East who left Jerusalem in order to go and adore Jesus in Bethlehem, I long to march off in route to the missions. It was for this, and not to be a palace lackey, that God created me. For me the royal palace is my exile, my gallows. Pray much to God for me, that He may let me know what I must do” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Madrid, January 9, 1867: EC il, pp. 1109-10).
45. The Spread of Good Books
“I am very happy that the like and zeal for the circulation of books Is still spreading hereabouts, for at present it is one of the means that the mercy of God is providing for the conversion of many sinners. Courage, then. I am herewith sending you the booklets. In a few days I’ll be sending you the reprints with the works that were done last year” (Letter to Fr. Carmela Sala; Madrid, February 7, 1867:ECII,p. 1117).
46. Longing for Heaven and Love for the Cross
“I desire with the greatest longing to go to heaven and see Jesus loved and praised by the whole heavenly court. For me it will be the greatest joy and satisfaction that I hope to have, more, even, than the glory that the mercy of God may be able to give me. Thus I do not desire to go to heaven for myself, but to see God, Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, the angels and saints in their glorification. At present the Lord Is leading me along the road of sufferings and troubles. They are fairly strong, but stronger still are the helps with which the Lord is favouring me. Blessed may He be. I also know that you are undergoing your little labours, and this makes me quite happy. The best adornment of a spouse of Christ are sufferings and trials, and indeed, Jesus Christ is the man of Sorrows. The Blessed Virgin is the Queen of Martyrs. The closer the likeness, the closer the friendship!” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Madrid, April 9, 1867: EC II, p. 1143)
47. Attitude While Doing God’s Work
“Experience has taught me that in doing the works of God our Lord we must practice much patience, inner peace, humility, resignation and conformity to the will of God” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Madrid, March 20, 1868:
EG II, p. 1251).
48.Devotion to the Virgin of Fussimanya
“I am very happy to learn that you make occasional visits to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fussimanya and that you keep me in mind during your devotions. I would love to be able to visit that Shrine again before I die. I often remember the visits I used to make there with you, and that is the reason I have always Ioved you more than my other brothers and sisters, because you were always ready to accompany me to visit the holy statue of Mary Most Holy, from whom I have always received so many singular favors. I ask you, sister dear, for the great love I have I for you, always to be devoted to Mary Most Holy under any of her titles. Tell your children and friends as well, to imitate her virtues, to recite the Rosary every day and to receive the Holy Sacraments on the principal Feastdays” (Letter to his sister, Rose Claret de Muntanyola; Madrid, June 17, 1868: EC Il, pp. 1263-64).
49. Contemplation of the Holy Family
“Ever since we left Spain, one of the considerations that has been uppermost in my mmd is the Holy Family’s exile in Egypt, thinking of the sufferings they underwent on that long road, with all its privations and inconveniences, whereas we have every convenience. They, when they arrived, had no idea where they would find a roof over their heads, whereas we find this house ready to welcome us, as well as the Sisters of St. Joseph, who are ready and willing to serve and wait on us.
Ah, Mary, it is all so humbling, that at this moment tears well up in my eyes as I think of Jesus, Mary Most Holy and Saint Joseph in the midst of so many labours and miseries, while we three, Fr. Laurence, Bro, Joseph and the Archbishop, are amidst so many comforts and kindness. This afflicts me greatly, seeing that I have not been deemed worthy to suffer anything for the love of Jesus Christ.
And you, Mary, can do me the honour of telling your Mama to be glad and take heart despite all the sufferings and labours she finds herself in, since she has attained what I could not. To her, beloved as she is of Jesus Christ, He has given the cup of His passion and has moreover placed on her shoulders the burden of the cross of sufferings. You, Mary, must be her Cyreneari, helping her to bear it. And you know how you can help the Lord and give Him great relief? By always being very good and very humble in and through all things, by studying to know his will and keep it” (Letter to Mrs. Mary Gascuey Balzola; Paris, November 8, 1868: EC li, p. 1312).
50. From the Passion to the Resurrection
“God Is so good, wise and powerful, that he can even bring good out ot evil. We see this in the order of nature as well as in the order of grace. When the sower sows the wheat, which sprouts up so beautifully, a time comes when it seems that all will be lost: ice, hail and a snow so deep that it covers everything; yet even this works out far the good of the wheat. What then shall I say in the order of grace? Ah! Behold the persecution and passion of Jesus; but from it springs the resurrection” (Letter to Fr. Palladio Currius; Paris, November 10, 1868: EC II, p. 1315).
51. Annoyance with Politics
“If there’s one thing that annoys and bores me, it’s politics. As you well know, I have never wanted to meddle in politics; yet there are those who suppose that I meddle in everything, that is, ever since I returned from Cuba. But they think this even more so, especially now that major issues are going to be dealt with” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Paris, March 3, 1869: EC II, pp. 1368-69).
52. Societies for Émigrés in Paris
“God our Lord has chosen to make use of me to found some Societies of the Holy Family, Jesus, Joseph and Mary, to help those Spaniards who come to this city, either from the Peninsula or from America. In this city foreigners need protection, for otherwise they fail into despair and I some even commit suicide. I was horrified to read the other day that there are some 1200 suicides in Paris every year”.
“For the moment there are two Holy Family Societies, and for men and the other far women. Their aim is to support, protect and find lodgings far all Spaniards who present themselves” (Letter to Mrs. Jacoba Baizola; Paris, March 28, 1869: EC Il, p. 1375).
53. Simile of the Figs
“It matters not to me that I am persecuted and slandered; I fear God alone, who will be my Judge. Jesus tells us to rejoice when they say all manner of evil against us, lying [Mt 5:11-12]… Even the wicked, without intending te do so, eulogize us. The enemies who stood guard at the tomb of the dead Jesus were the first witnesses to His resurrection”.
“To make this truth more palpable for you, I will avail myself of a comparison. Society is like a fig-tree in a garden, laden with figs. The wicked are like birds that peck at the figs and eat them. Which figs do they peck at – the good ripe ones, or the green sour ones? The good ones, of course. For when we see a fig that has been pecked at, we say: ‘Ah, that’s a good one; the birds bave been pecking at it. Is someone being persecuted and slandered? It’s a good sign; he is of Jesus Christ” (Ibid., p. 1376).
54. The Association of Catholic Mothers
‘When I wrote the Life of St. Monica I included in that little book the Rules for the Association of Catholic Mothers. The women of Barcelona were so moved of enthusiasm on reading it, that they formed a group on the spot, and throughout the sad circumstances of the present time, they have grown to such proportions that last week I had a letter from their Leader, telling me that in a short time some six-hundred mothers or sisters and impious men and revolutionaries have joined” (Ibid., pp. 1376-77).
55. The Disciple is not Greater than His Master
“All that I foretold so long ago and so often is now being verified in what is happening in Spain. I offered myself as a victim and the Lord deigned to accept my offering; for all sorts of slanders, infamies and persecutions have fallen upon me. All I have is the testimony of a good conscience, and thus I have borne it all calmly and in silence, thinking only on Jesus.
When we left Spain at the end of September, we went to France, and towards the beginning of April this year I went on alone, with my Chaplain, to Rome. On arriving here I paid my respects to the Pope, who received me with the most convincing signs of love and affection. He called me Caro mio, and gave me the most telling proofs from Scripture and reason to console me. He did all the talking while I remained silent. When he gave me leave to speak, I told him: ‘Holy Father, the disciple should not be treated with greater respect than his Master, nor the servant than his Lord’ [Mt 10:24]. When the Pope heard these words and saw how calm I was, he manifested the joy he tell in his heart, and then turned to speak to me about other matters” (Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Rome, July 21, 1869: EC 11, p. 1410).
56. “I have fulfilled my Mission”
“I have suffered more than usual. I have many longings to die… it seems
to me that I have fulfilled my mission. In Paris and in Rome I have preached the
law of God: in Paris, the capital of the world, and in Rome, the capital of
Catholicism – I have done so both in word and in writing. I have kept holy poverty.
I gave away my belongings and today, thank God, I receive nothing from the
Diocese of Cuba, and the Queen sends me nothing” (Lotteria Palladio Currius; Rome, October 2, 1869: EC II, p. 1423).
57. Desire to Die for Jesus Christ
“Pray the Lord to give me strength, constancy and patience. As you know, the Government is not giving me any of the allotment from Cuba. Neither does the Queen send me anything, so that I have nothing but expenses. But this does not fill me with concern; all I want to do is love, serve and die for Jesus Christ” (Letter to Fr. Palladio Currius; Rome, June 17, 1870: EC Il, p. 1471).
58. In Defense ot the Church and the Pope
‘The labours and fatigues of the Council keep us very busy upholding and
defending the rights of the Church and the Holy Father. in the full assembly of the
Council and in the presence of all the Cardinals, Patriarchs, Archbishops and
Bishops, I said from the pulpit that I was ready and willing to give my life’s blood.
My words made a deep impression. I can say the same for the other Spanish
Bishops: all of them bore themselves very well. An English Archbishop Henry
Edward Manning carne to see me and told me: lt can be said that the Spanish
Bishops are the Pope’s imperial guard’. May it all be for the greater glory of God”
(Letter to Mother Mary Antonia Paris; Rome, June 17, 1870: EC li, pp. 1473-74).
II. THE SPIRIT AND MISSION OF THE CLARETIAN
59. Mìssìonary Lifestyle and Selection of Vocations
“The Missionaries are doing very well and can’t go any faster than they’re doing at present. We are very busy from four in the morning until ten at night. Indeed, one occupation is linked to another in a continual chain. Our occupations are: mental and vocal prayer, divine office, conferences on catechesis, preaching, hearing confessions, and on moral, mystical and ascetical theology.
“There are conferences for insiders and outsiders. Seven of us are involved in the ones for insiders. We exercise ourselves in all the virtues, especially humility and charity, and in this college we have a truly poor and apostolic life in community. The conferences for outsiders are attended by fifty six ecclesiastics, some of whom will become well-qualified preachers.” Some of them have even asked to live with us, but we are going rather slowly about this, carefully considering their physical and moral abilities, for one can’t be 100 cautious in such matters, since one mangy sheep might infect the rest of the flock” (Letter to Dan Joseph Caixal, Bishop of Urgell; Vic, September 5, 1849: EC I, pp. 316-1 7).
60. Problems and Activities of the first Claretians
‘We are forging ahead and applying ourselves to learning and virtue, though the devil has dealt us a hard blow now and then. Our divine Master has allowed him to beset us a few times, and the Lord Himself has also tried us. One of our companions Fr. Dominic Fàbregas is ill and has to be watched over day and night by one of the members. I myself have a bad knee and they are applying remedies to it… I am giving a retreat to some twenty-nine ordinands, while Fr. Stephen Sala is giving one to the Hospital Sisters. Between the two of us, we have to give retreats to the Teresian Carmelites, the Poor Clares and the Dominican Nuns, as well as to our own Sisters of the Escorial the Carmelite Sisters of Charity. And besides this, they want to burden us with a more troublesome charge. Blessed be God. Thus far we have been living in this Seminary; but the seminarians will soon be coming back, so we’ll have to leave our rooms here, although I still don’t know where we’ll go, because it seems that the place where we were going to stay is going to take forever to arrange. But, as you are well aware, those who are at the mercy of others don’t do what they wish, but what they can. Praised be God!” (Letter to Bp. Joseph CaixaI of Urgell; Vic, September 17, 1849: EC I, pp. 31 9-20).
61. Situation of the First Claretians
“All of us are well, thank God, except Mossèn Catalan equivalent of English ‘Father Dominic Fàbregas, who is still a little weak, and since he does not feel strong enough to give the novena of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in this city, Mossòn Xifré will give it and then give the others I have already assigned him. Fàbregas is confident he will be able to give the one for Our Lady of Mercy. Mossèn Sala left Monday for Cardona and elsewhere…; the other companions will be marching off around All Saints for different places, making the best combinations they can” (Letter to the Bishop of Vic; Vic, October 25, 1849: EC I, p. 332).
62. Remembrance of His Missionaries
“As regards the house of La Merced, I do not forget it, although you can imagine how greatly I am economizing, since I and my companions here lead the same kind of life as in La Merced…” (Letter to the Bishop of Vic; Nuevitas, Cuba, November 24, 1851: EC I, pp. 607.08).
63. Survival and Spread of the Congregation
“As regards temporal goods, with God’s help we will not be lacking them. I have set aside the sum of some twelve thousand dollars for the Congregation, and perhaps a little more. But we must not let ourselves be caught sleeping, for the time will come soon enough, when whatever goods religious orders have will be Iost; in this particular, our Congregation gives me the least to be concerned about.
“As far its propagation or spread, I must tell you so long as there is a house in each province or diocese, it will suffice, because although we are few, we will have to do much; and in those places where the Jesuits can no longer work because of the terrible measures that have been taken against them, we will introduce ourselves under the wing of the bishops” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, October 1, 1857: EC I, pp. 1419-20).
64. Concern for the Approval of the Constitutions
‘Anthony Mary Claret, Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba, prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, has the honour of presenting the Constitutions which he wrote in the year 1849 for the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These Constitutions, Holy Father, were already written in the hearts of all the members of the Congregation and were being observed by each one of them with all exactness. But as God chose to separate me from their company by sending me to the Island al Cuba in that very year of 1849, all my companions begged me to put into writing the Constitutions which they had been observing up to that time, so that my absence might not lead to the forgetfulness of their observance. And so I did. ‘But when I arrived back from the island of Cuba in 1857, I found that they had not only observed these Constitutions exactly, but had also added some observances for their greater perfection. Thus it is that, honed by observance and confirmed by practical experience, they have been printed with the approval of all the members, as their signatures show. Now they are presented to Your Paternity for the corresponding approval, would they be found worthy” (Letter lo Pius IX; Madrid, January 25, 1858:EC I, pp. 1504-05).
65. Mutual Help in Sickness
I have just received your letter of the I15th of the present month, in which you inform me of the illness of Mossèn Stephen Sala, and I can do no less than applaud the fact that all the brethren have resolved that one should take care of him, and I am happy that you are the one named to do so, since I have no doubt that you will fulfil very well this work of charity and this obligation of all Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to mutually help one another. Be so good as to give him my regards and tell him that I will commend him to God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that the Lord may give him what is best for him, and that as soon as I can I’ll come to see him and all the other brethren al the Congregation. How I long to do so!” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, April 20, 1858: EC I, pp. 1561-62).
66. On the Death of Fr. Stephen Sala
“As soon as you wrote me of the illness of our brother Mossèn Stephen
Sala, I answered and shortly after I had sent my letter, I received another from
Mossèn Naudò, in which he notified me of the death of the aforesaid Mossèn
Stephen. In pace requiescat. “All we can do is commend him to God and confirm ourselves to His most holy will. I am aware of the affliction and sorrow you must all be feeling; I am sure, however, that you’re not children, but men, and spiritual men at that, masters of the spirit who will know how to apply to yourselves the remarks and counsels that you use when consoling yaor neighbors.
“I greatly long to come and visit you, now more than ever, and I hope I’ll be able to do so as soon as possible. Meanwhile, encourage one another and let us mutually commend ourselves to God, praying especially for the soul of Mossèn Stephen and offering to God the suffrages prescribed in rule 113 of our Constitutions” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, April 21, 1858: EC I, pp. 1566- 67).
67. Congratulations to the New Superior General
“I am very happy that the nomination as superior general has fallen on you. This was just what I was hoping for. I trust that divine Providence has so disposed for the good of the Congregation, and I have no doubt that you will use that skill and holy prudence a superior needs in order to rule and govern a community well, making it always advance in holiness and learning, walking ahead of it with good example, by doing rather than commending”.
“It is true that our Congregation s very little, butt hat does not matter. Better for us to be few but close-knit and fervent, than many and divided. In time it will grow” (Letter to Fr. Joseph XIifré; Madrid, May 7, 1858: EC I, pp. 1571-72).
68. Recommendations Concerning the Missionaries
“I am glad that you are aware of and have remarked that whenever the number of the members of our Congregation passes twelve, something always seems to happen… Well, then, let us see how we can found more and more houses in the interior of Spain, where they are so desired and needed. Be so good as to propose this to the brethren”.
“In my opinion, whenever you see a young man of the right disposition, etc., etc., you should admit him, even if he’s not a priest or in orders, so long as he is advanced in his studies and offers hopes of persevering in the Congregation. Of course you should proceed carefully in this, to avoid what happened to the Vincentians in Madrid, for a number of young men who were educated and ordained, have left them. ”.
“Let me tell you what a bishop just told me: that he wanted you to come to his diocese here; but this is what all bishops I’ve talked with want. It seems to me that priests could go two by two accompanied by a lay brother to cook for them while they preach to the people and then, during vacations time they could preach retreats to seminarians and priests… The Jesuits have done this in some dioceses and have had good results. I leave this to your consideration” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Oviedo, August 4, 1858: EC I, pp. 1624-26).
69. On the Feast of the Heart of Mary
“Kindly pay my respects to all the Missionaries. Tell them to take great heart and always trust in God and in Mary Most Holy. It seems to me that it would be a very good idea to celebrate a feast in honour of the sacred Heart of Mary every year late in summer, when all the Missionaries have come back from their tasks” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, October 15, 1858: EC I, p. 1655).
70. The Apostolic Number
‘It seems good to me that four members should go to take possession of the house in the Diocese of Barcelona, for two reasons: first, because since there are more than twelve in Vic, either God or the world will carry some of them off. I know that the Lord does not wish that there be more than twelve in our houses. The other reason is that in this way they can do much good, especially with retreats to the clergy and the people” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, November 3, 1858: EC I, pp. 1657-58).
71. Need for Missionaries
“I see what you are saying to me about missionaries. Indeed, there is a shortage of vocations. Everyone has a vocation to be a Canon, but not to be a missionary – yet how often missionaries are asked for and how necessary they are! I am receiving requests from America, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. etc. As you must already know, the brother in Barcelona, Bishop Palau, is setting up a house in Gracia and four are going there from La Merced in Vic”(Letter to the Bishop of Urgell; Madrid, November 5, 1858: EC I, p. 1660).
“Let us pray to the heavenly Father to send labourers, because the labourers are indeed few and the harvest is great, both inside and outside Spain. of the companions I had in Cuba, one went to Guatemala and another to Honduras, and both are working wonders, and everyone is asking us to send them people. This month I have received a dossier from the authorities of the Republic of Santo Domingo asking me far Missionaries”.
72. Trust In Providence
“It seems to me that you are harbouring some fear regarding subsistence, since you say that as a result of the disestablishment you do not know how our houses can survive. On this point I would like to see you a little more enlivened with the spirit of Jesus Christ”.
“Remember well what our divine Master said to the Apostles, and in them, to us. I have never thought that anything could be lacking to us. As it has been thus far, so will it be in days to come. Jesus Christ told the Apostles: ‘When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything? They said, ‘Nothing’ [Lk22:35]. And have you lacked anything? Nothing? Then you will lack nothing in days to come”.
“Sacred Scripture recounts that a widow from Zarephath attended to the needs of the prophet Elisha (so that God’s ministers might see how well good people know how to attend to us). The crows brought food to Elijah (the crows are a figure of the wicked who, even though they are wicked, by God’s inspiration attend to the needs of good priests). But if good or even bad people were lacking, the angels would come from heaven, as happened to Elijah [cf. 1 Kgs 19:5-8], and even to Jesus Christ [Lk 22:43]. And you may rest assured that the hand of God has not been shortened; it is as powerful today as it was when it maintained His people in the desert. Let us seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and the other things will be added to us ”. [Mt 6:33; Lk 12:31].
“Nevertheless, since it is not contrary to trust in God for us to use the ordinary means within our grasp, I have considered leaving to this holy Congregation the savings I am continually putting aside from my income. You already know what I left Fr. Stephen Sala (R.I.P.), and I was thinking of leaving something to each of the communities as they are founded, according to my abilities; but in the meantime, the surplus of one house may take up for what is wanting in the other. Relying on divine providence and this sort of human foresight, it seems to me that things should go very well.
“So don’t hold back from receiving subjects you consider suitable by reason of their learning, virtue and potential usefulness, even if they are young and not yet ordained.
“Moreover, I would not like the members of any of our houses, counting priests young and old, to exceed the number twelve, in honour of the twelve Apostles. We must act as beekeepers do: form new beehives until there is one in each diocese and even enough to send abroad” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, November30, 1858: EC I, pp. 1678-80).
73. Not Being Tied Down with Commitments Involving Money or Women :
“You have done very well not to accept anything that would oblige our Congregation in matters of anniversaries, etc., except to those in which the obligation or condition could be taken care of at one single time. For, given the times we are passing through, when everything is at risk, it does not become of us to accept any perpetual obligations. Regarding this, I have already told you that God will provide. When I see you face to face, I will tell you what I have planned about using the savings from my income on behalf of the Congregation”.
“When Mrs. de Rocafort undertakes her journey tor this court, she will already be accompanied by a young lady, and thus she will have sufficient companionship. Therefore, I do not consider it prudent for either your or Father Bernardi Salato go along, because the wicked are very malicious at present, and thus I will only allow the priests to accompany nuns, and l’m not too keen even on this – but ladies, never, no matter how holy they are, so as not to provide the wicked with a motive for talking.. ”.
“In my opinion, you would do well to continue accepting priests and coadjutors who offer hopes of being suitable; and thus we will see whether this helps us to expand” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, ApriI 7, 1859: EC I, p. 1744).
74. Love brother Missionaries
“Be so good as to give my regards to the Bishop of Vic and to all the Missionaries, my dear son, whom I love very much and who I hope will help me in the great work of converting souls, all of whom I long to see in heaven” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, June 15, 1859: EC I, p. 1789).
75. Civil Approval of the Constitutions
“Yesterday we arrived at this royal estate, and soon afterwards I was handed the royal approval ot our Constitutions. Thanks be given to God our Lord and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, and I hope that all of you will do so and most sincerely.. ”.
“The enemy greatly fears these holy Constitutions, and this is why he has persecuted them so much. Let us be faithful in keeping them, and God will always make everything turn out to our good.
“Regards to all the priests and brothers of the Congregation, and you yourself keep well and ask what you will of the last of the priests of the Congregation”(Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; San Ildefonso, July 13,1 859: EC I, pp. 1810-11).
76. Recognition of Studies in the Congregation
“In the year 1849, a few of us priests, animated with the same spirit, gathered together with the single aim of striving for our own greater sanctification and at the same time the salvation of souls redeemed with the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, choosing as our title the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To this effect, I wrote some Constitutions which have since governed us and which Her Majesty’s government has now seen fit to approve”.
“Those of us priests who formed the Congregation at the outset, had already finished our studies in conciliar seminaries; but as, since that time, members who must still complete a few years of studies have been entering the Congregation, I have decided to have recourse to you as Nuncio and representative of the Holy Father, who is master and teacher of the universal Church, in order to receive the permission or place allowing all subjects who have entered the said Congregation, or may do so in time, yet have not finished their ecclesiastical studies, to complete them in the Congregation itself, under the direction and instruction of a member assigned by the Superior General of the Congregation”.
“No harm or prejudice will result from this favour that I am asking; on the contrary, two very great benefits will ensue: the first benefit will be for the Congregation, since it will thus be able to see that all of its members are well educated men who have completed their studies; the second benefit, which follows, will be for the people who, knowing that all the members of the Congregation are well educated, will have greater confidence in them and will, with greater assurance and liking, listen to their sermons and make their confessions with them” (Letter to the Papal Nuncio, Mons. Lorenzo Barilli; San Ildefonso, July 29, 1859: EC I, pp. 1835-36).
77. Plans Concerning EI Escorial
“The Queen has named me president of EI Escorial. Thus the monastery, church, etc., are at my disposal, and Her Majesty wants me to establish in to a community which outsiders will call ecclesiastics, but which will most strictly follow the Rule of St. Jerome.
I am thinking of moving there with my Missionaries, since I have good rooms for them and for everything, and of paying frequent visits to Her Majesty. From EI Escorial Missionaries will set out for the center of Spain. which greatly needs them. In El Escorial, retreats will be given to the clergy and laity. Colleges, etc., will be set up in EI Escorial” (Letter to Don Dionisio Gonzàlez; San
Ildefonso, August 7, 1859: EC II, pp. 12-14).
78. EI Escorial as a Center of Missionary Activities
“As you already know, Her Majesty has named me president of EI Escorial. it isaf monastery the size of a town. There is room for everything; thus, if the house in Gracia does not go through, I believe that it could be placed there. I would provide the rooms required both for yourselves and for the retreatants, and I have no doubt that this would be highly useful. And as it Is in the center of Spain, you could go out on missions in all directions. Moreover, many foreigners go there, and they could make retreats, go to confessions, etc. etc. Her Majesty spoke to me about you and would like to have you go there”.
“Think about it, confer with the brethren about it, and commend the matter to God. And I would have you understand that if they go, they will be entirely independent, they will live as you do, they will devote themselves to the things you do. There alone they will be given as many rooms as they want, a church, and as many Masses as they want, for your intentions” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; San Ildefonso, August 12, 1859: EC II, pp. 19-20).
79. The Claretians in EI Escorial
“Her Majesty is greatly in favour of having some of my brethren to come to EI Escorial, so that this Hieronymite novitiate might be formed in their shadow and that they might meanwhile give retreats to those clergy and laity who come here, and at the same time give missions in the surrounding towns, which greatly need them.. ”.
“This Is why I told you not to rent me a house in Madrid, because I thought I would continue in my rooms at the Church of the Italians until I see how I arrange a set of rooms at the hospital and church of Montserrat and the others in EI Escorial, while I would stay in one place or the other, so that everything might go well. In EI Escorial incalculable good can be done. In Montserrat also” (Letter to
Fr. Palladio Currius; Segovia, August 16, 1859: EC ti, pp. 23-24).
80. Advice on Following One’s Vocation
“I have just received your most welcome letter, in which you ask me about your vocation and express the hope that I should tell you definitely what you ought to do. In answer, I tell you that it is the will of God and Blessed Virgin Mary that you enter the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and devote yourself to holy missions and spiritual exercises”.
“Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by Satan, who is working very hard to hinder the good that God and the Blessed Virgin wish to do through you. Therefore be obedient and humble now and always. Jesus and Mary urge me to tell you this, and that you should not become unworthy of the graces they have granted you thus far and will grant you in the future”. “Therefore, my friend, do not be deaf; be docile, humble, obedient and fervent, and do not resist grace any further, or else God will abandon you” (Letter to Fr. Dominic Ramonet; Aranjuez, April 20, 1861: EC II, pp. 270-71).
81. Advice to His Missionaries: Study Languages
“The Lord wants you to spread throughout the rest of Spain… I am very glad you have started a class in Canons and that Fr. Sors is teaching it; but see to it that the priests focus on three areas: 1) Writing out their sermons, doctrines and retreats; 2) Learning French so that they can hear the confessions of foreigners whenever they come to the confessiorial or of the sick who request confession; 3) Reviewing or attending conferences on moral theology” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Aranjuez, May 3, 1861: EC il, pp. 279-81).
82. Strengthening One’s Missionary Vocation
“I am gladdened by your obedient resolve. Now the important thing is not to look back, since you have put your hand to the plough, if you want to enter the kingdom of heaven [cf. Lk 9:62]. I unclerstand quite well that Satan will use whatever means he can in order to make you give up; he will even transform himself into an angel of light [cf. 2 Cor 11:14]; but you must pay him no heed whatsoever. Consider that being a missionary is greater than being a pastor, greater than being a canon, greater than… In these states, the dangers are more and greater, when the fruits reaped are fewer than in the missionary state”.
“The harvest is great, the workers are few; let us, then, pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers; let’s pray that those who are called will obey and not excuse themselves on the grounds of piety or family. For woe to those who, as St. Augustine says, are caiied once, but are not called a second time and are lost! Guard well what you have, and don’let someone else win the crown that is prepared for you”.
“With what I have just said, you have more than enough to banish your present doubts, as well as others that Satan will yet suggest. Courage! Be faithful, be happy, commend yourself greatly to Mary Most Holy and strive to keep busy always” (Letter to Fr. Dominic Ramonet; Madrid, June 26, 1861: EC Il, pp. 316- 17).
83.Governing by Example
“As far what you tell me of your ineptitude to govern, let me tell you that to allow us to practice the virtues, God our Lord sometimes allow the least suited individuals to govern the rest, so you should always walk ahead by showing good example. Tell them frequently to read the Rules and Constitutions of the Congregation, and to observe them faithfully” (Letter to the Ven. ,Jaime Clotet; Madrid, July 1, 1861: EC II, p. 320).
84. Need for Extending the Congregation
‘When Fr. Xitré comes back, tell him for me that we must turn firmly to God to let us know whether it would be right for some of our missionaries to go into the interior of Spain; the need is great, the people desire it and I have no doubt that the fruit will be most copious.
“In looking throughout history, I see that all religious orders later spread, not only throughout the kingdom they were founded in, but also in different parts of the world; well, why can’t we spread at least throughout this kingdom?
“The greatest trial I have is to have to remain stationed in this court. True, I am always preaching in jails, hospitals, schools, convents and towns; but this doesn’t satisfy me; I’d like to be off and running… (Ibid., p. 321).
85. Longing to Preach; Love for His Missionaries
“I can see what you’re telling me about how to expand our Congregation, and it seems a good way, and all the better if it were to go into the interior of Spain, where the need is greater. I dare say nobody knows this better than I, because all my living in Madrid and travelling with Their Majesties. When I see the disposition of the people, their hunger for the word of God, etc. etc., I cannot contain myself… If someone could only give me the power to run about preaching throughout Spain, throughout the world… ”
The greatest temptation I have is to escape from Their Majesties’ side and I put up with it because they tell me that it’s the will of God that I remain at their side, and I myself believe it just now, and this and this alone makes me put up with it, hoping that the Lord will free me.
Meanwhile, tell my dearest brothers the missionaries to take heart and work as hard as they can, and God and the Blessed Virgin will reward them for it. I have such an affection for priests who devote themselves to missions that I would give them my life’s blood; I would wash and kiss their feet a thousand times:
“I would make their beds, cook their food and take the food out of my own mouth so that they could have something to eat; I don’t know what I wouldn’t do for them.
When I consider that they are working so that God may be better known and loved, and so that souls may be saved and not condemned, I do not know what I feel…
Even now as I am writing, I have to set down my pen to wipe out my eyes… Oh Sons of the Immaculate Heart of my dearest Mother! I want to write to you but I can’t, because my eyes are overflowing with tears. Preach and pray for me.
Farewell, my dear brothers. I am enclosing this little paper (the definition of a missionary), which I wish each one of the missionaries would copy and carry about with him” (Letter to Fr. Xifré; La Granja, August 20, 1861: EC Il, pp. 349- 52).
86. Expansion of the Congregation
“If the missionaries of Barcelona ot in that diocese, send some groups of three to other dioceses. Let us work as much as we can” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, January 30, 1862: EC II, p. 437).
87. Courage in the Face of illness
“You should devote yourself in moderation to giving retreats to the students; both for the growth of the Congregation, which God and the Blessed Virgin will keep working on, and for the formation of good clerics. I am sorry that the consultors are so concerned over your health; but I tell you that you will not die just now, and that God our Lord is allowing this almost habitual indisposition or illness so that you may be more humble every day, and the sicker you are, the more valiant you will bear more fruit, so that you and everyone may know that what you do, you are doing by the grace of God. Courage. Without upsetting the order al the house, go to the seminary they are inviting you to, even though it means making a trip expressly to each seminary and the returning to Vic” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; San Ildefonso, September 4, 1862: EC Il, pp. 529-30).
88. Praying for Workers in the Lord’s Vineyard
“I am very glad in the Lord at seeing your labours and the happy results that the sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary are having… I trust in the Lord that He will send us workers for the cultivation of His vineyard. Let us pray a great deal to the heavenly Father” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, November 21, 1862: EC lI, pp. 567-69).
89. Sending the Regulation for the students
‘The present letter is to inform you that, considering how important it is to give a good formation to the young men whom God may call to the Congregation, I have decided to write this regulation which I am pleased to enclose, so that it may be put into practice in all its parts, since this is the will of God and of Mary Most Holy, our Mother” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, December 20, 1962: 2C II, pp.576-77).
90. We Need to Make People
“I am glad you sent the rules and other requirements for their approval to Rome. Now the important thing is to commend the matter to God”.
“As for the oath (of remaining in the Congregation), there is no reason to fear the government. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31) The important thing is that we be good sons of the immaculate Heart of Mary, who will make everything turn for the good.
“In order to avoid desertions and overcome temptations, I would like Treatise 7, Part 3 of Rodriguez to read frequently and observe to the letter.
“Don’t hesitate to build, if it is necessary in order to admit more missionaries, because we must strive greatly toward this, and for this reason I would like you to give retreats to the clergy and students of those dioceses where you are confident you will be able to gather candidates for the Congregation. We need to make people…
“As for the revolution, there is no need to be frightened. If they persecute us in one place, we will go to another. The early Christians were persecuted even more than we are. We need not to be overtly prudent concerning this point; we have to put ourselves completeiy in the hands of God and Mary Most Holy. I fear neither the revolution nor all helI; I only fear God. Believe me, my friend, work as hard as you can to increase the personnel of the Congregation, and if this means you have to erect another building, then do so at once and never mind the costs or what the world will say. I would like the missionaries to hand out more books and leaflets; the good they are doing is incalculable. I will pay for it; all you have to do is teli Mr. Riu of the Religious Library, who will make sure that in each town a box of them will be at the disposal of the missionaries” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xitré; Madrid, March 6, 1863: EC lI, pp. 635-37).
91. Claret’s House in Madrid
“Since I find myself involved in looking for a cook, but don’t have much confidence in the ones who have applied thus far, the thought occurred to me that I might write to see if you could send me a brother of the Congregation. He should consider my house as a residence, since the same rules, prayer, food,etc., are observed there. Besides, all the savings that will be made are for the Congregation itself and for the poor” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; EI Escorial, April, 1863: EC II, p. 642).
92. We Must not Sleep: The Congregation’s Expansion
“As for your question on whether the Congregation should delay a little longer or proceed to take charge of the Church of La Merced in Vic, I would say that it seems to me that the time has come when the Congregation ought to take it over, so that the young men who have entered and, God willing, will yet enter, will in this way have a greater opportunity to become proficient in rubrics and church ceremonies and in the practice of catechesis and preaching, and being thus well-equipped, you can send them out wherever they are most needed, for the great glory of God and the good of the souls.
“Friends, we must not fall asleep. Evil is reaching its peak with giant steps; God’s justice is highly irritated and the only means to hold it back is moral changes, and that is the work of the grace of God, who uses the holy missions as the instrument. Have no doubt, friends; society is on a steep downward hill and only religion can hold it back, and this is what the missionaries must promote.. ”.
“I trust only in God and in you of the Congregation of the immaculate Heart of Mary, and thus I repeat that, without losing time, you should work at gathering and forming young men, for thus you will please God, Their Majesties and even the government itself (though the member of the latter may not tell you to do so in writing, since they have to compromise with their adversaries), but I am most sure that far from troubling you, they will be glad to know that you are gathering, forming and sending out missionaries under the guidance of the bishops… It seems to me that the time has come for the Congregation itself to take charge of the aforesaid church, for many other reasons than the ones I hinted at” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Aranjuez, May 1, 1863: EC Il, pp.650-52).
93. Need for Missionaries
“As for what you tell me about setting up a house of priests who were devoted to mission, retreats, etc., it seems very good to me; in the present day it is a necessity. All prelates feel the same and are asking for missionaries. It’s a pity there aren’t as many priests of this kind as are needed. A short time ago, the Superior General, Fr. Xifré, wrote me and spoke of the diocese of Huesca. I don’t doubt that he will manage to please you when he has some men available. Meanwhile, let us ask the heavenly Father to send workers into his harvest” (Letter to the Bishop of Huesca; San Ildefonso, August 11, 1863: EC il, pp.687- 88).
94. The Feast of the Heart of Mary
‘I am happy that in both Vic and Gracia you have solemnized the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I am of the opinion that you should adopt a certificate to give the faithful who enrol in the Arch confraternity (of the Heart of Mary) for all the parishes in Spain where it is established. You can think it over and act on it later” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, September 2, 1863: ECII,p.696).
95 M.issionary Ministry of the Press
“Mr. Riu has given me a bill for ten thousand reales for the works that the missionaries have obtained from the Religious Library. Tell them to feel free to do so, because they will have double results: from preaching, and from leaflets and books” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; November 18, 1863: EC Il p. 722).
96. Books and Holy Cards
“Kindly give my regards to Fr. Xifré and tell him to see to it that the missionaries of all three houses have holy cards and books to give to the people of the towns in which they give missions, because on that occasion they can produce very good results. Tell them to obtain them from the Religious Library in Barcelona, on my account”(Letter to the Ven. Jaume Clotet; Madrid, December 19, 1863: EC Il, p. 735).
97. An Account of the Congregation
“The Congregation of Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart Of Mary began with the approval of His Excellency, Doctor Lucian Casadeval, in the concillar seminary of Vic on July 1 6th, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in the year 1849.
“For the founding of this Congregation, God made use of Fr. Anthony Mary Claret Giara. This priest had devoted himself for four years to parish ministry; but finding the limits of a parish too narrow for his zeal, he consecrated himself totally to the holy task of popular missions and retreats to priests, students and nuns”.
“Every day of the year he was preaching missions, not only in the diocese of Vic, but also in many otherdioceses of Spain; but always by arrangement with the Bishops of Vic, to whom the other Bishops applied.
“Thus he continued, from 1840 to 1849, when the Lord deigned to give him companions, namely the priests Joseph Xifré, Stephen Sala, Dominic Fabregas, Manuel Vilaro and Jaume Clotet- all priests of great virtue and learning, and well practice in sacred ministry.
“Toward the beginning October of that same year, they moved from the seminary to the mission house of La Merced in Vic, which the Bishop had obtained from Her Majesty’s government to serve the purpose of the aforesaid missionaries, which consists of giving missions to everyone and retreats to every class of persons, especially to priests, students and nuns.
“All of the Spanish Bishops, especially those of the Catalan provinces, looked upon the newborn Congregation with goodwill and affection, hoping great things from it, and hence they gave it every kind of protection. Those who declared themselves most clearly in their favour were His Excellencies, Archbishop Echanove of Tarragona, Bishop Lorent of Gerona and Bishop Soler of Teruel; but above all, there was the diocesan bishop mentioned above, who cooperated positively and with all his might to its material and formal development. Since that time, the prelates of the metropolis as well as the other have continued protecting it.
Only July 9,1859 Her Majesty’s Government approved its Statutes, and on October 13,1860, His holiness, Pope Pius IX, deigned to praise and recommend it in most expressive terms.
Since its beginning it has uninterruptedly continued, with great results and consolation to the bishops, giving missions and retreats in many dioceses of the kingdom. And although it has undergone some quite considerable trials, it has been able, with the help of God and Mary Most Holy, not only to survive, but also to grow and ramify into Barcelona and Segovia, in which dioceses it has large houses perfectly equipped to host retreats every month for priests, ordinands and laity.
“The aforesaid Fr. Anthony Mary Claret, a few months after his beloved Institute was installed, was promoted- not without great suffering on his own part and that of his companions- to the archiepiscopal see of Santiago, Cuba, and is presently the confessor of Her Majesty the Queen of Spain, residing in Madrid, whence he effectively protects the Congregation and most earnestly longs to be able to retire in it and die among his brethren”.
“At the present, the Congregation is made up of thirty-two priests, four students of sacred theology and eighteen lay brothers. The Congregation is presentiy in a very good condition to develop and spread, not only throughout the dioceses of the kingdom, but also throughout the world, when God, who is the Lord of the harvest, sends it workers. This is its hope, these are its desires and to them its efforts are directed. “There are many dioceses in which, since the outset, they have given missions and retreats, and they are doing so today, divided into teams, in the diocese of Barcelona, Lérida, Vic and Segovia” (Letter to Nuncio Barili; Madrid, February 2, 1864: EC III, pp. 446-48, note 5).
98. Advice to His Missionaries
“Counsels given by our venerable Founder so that the sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary may advance in virtue and learning:
1. Walk in the presence of God.
2. Interior and exterior recollection.
3. Silence, which they should keep with great care.
4. They should not enter the rooms of the others, except that of the superior, when it is necessary.
5. They should very carefully make their particular and general examen; for this they may use the book, “The Well Instructed Seminarian.”
6. Care in doing ordinary things well.
7. Making prayer with all possible care.
8. They will have spiritual reading from Rodriguez.
9. Ali will keep the holy Rules with greatest perfection. For their studies:
- 1)Each one should strive to have the weapons to struggle with. These weapons are talks, sermons, etc., for missions and retreats.
- 2)The superior will give beginners a talk to copy; he will read it or have it read, and if he finds it good, he will have them learned and recite it. He will do the same with sermons,until each one has the needed store of them.
- 3)Until they have much experienced and are well versed in missions, he will not allow them to compose talks and sermons, but only to copy them.
- 4) They will recite and speak these talks and sermons quite formally in conferences established for this purpose, which need only be attended by the one who presides over or directs them, and by those who have not yet written and recited all the talks or sermons.
- 5) All will attend the other courses in moral theology, ascetical theology, rubrics, etc.
- 6)When the missionaries already have a store of written talks and sermons for missions and retreats, they will busy themselves with those matters they are most inclined to, for example, dogmatic or moral theology, mystical and ascetical theology, canon, history, rubrics, scripture, etc.
- 7) For the study of those things they will make use of the book called the “Well-instructed Seminarian.”
- 8) All the missionaries will always be occupied in copying, studying and writing, not only during the time when they do not have missions, but also during the first days when they do not have to hear confessions, and they will bring along a book for this purpose.
- 9) From time to time the superior will pass by the rooms to be informed of the works that each one has done in copying, studying and taking notes.
- 10)Provided his companions can back him up, a beginner with one or two talks ready can go out on mission until he completes his store talks.
- 11) Each talk or sermon should have an outline, in order to facilitate its memorization. (Transcription by Fr. Michael Aineto of the Counsels Fr. Claret let to the missionaries of Segovia in August, 1864: EC II, pp. 810-1 2, note 13).
99. “The Vocation of Boys”
“In all the houses of the Congregation I would like you to have a good supply of paper bound copies of the title of books ‘The Vocation of Boys’ (on my account) to give to all curates and assistants. Oh, how much good it would do for boys!”(Letter to Fr. Xifré; Madrid, November 8, 1864: ECu, p. 828).
100. Search for the Will of God
“Many, many times each day, I ask Jesus to let me know what he wants me to do regarding our project (Le., Mother Antonia’s “Plans for the reform of the Church”), because I am ready to work and die for love of Him. Sometimes he has inwardly told me that it was not time yet; I have consulted with zealous persons whom I completely trust, and they have told me the same thing.
“I know that before building, the ground must be cleared, and the Lord wants to send a chastisement, a cataclysm, and afterwards one will be able to build. But in the meantime we go on preparing young men of learning and virtue, because the rest are so spoiled that one can count little, very little, on them. Nevertheless, if there is some good in them, we go on taking advantage of it in order to preserve the results that the missionaries are achieving” (Letter to Mother Antonia Paris; Madrid, April &‘, 1860: ECu, p. 838).
101. Peace and Joy Amidst Persecutions
“The persecutions are becoming harsher every day, but the Lord gives me much peace and joy” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, December 26, 1864: EC Il, p. 841).
102. A “Temptation” to Study
‘In my previous letter I told you that we had made a retreat in EI Escorial. Brother Liumà tell deeply moved. I don’t know whether this special movement will help him get rid of the mania or temptation he spoke of when he came from Catalonia, namely, that he would like to be able to study. I made several observations to him: his age, his little knowledge of Latin and his inability even to write and prepare the monthly account of household expenses. I give him what I deem suitable reasons, having him read Rodriguez on the lay brothers; he calms down for a while, but always comes back with the same notion” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Miura; Madrid, April 25,1965: EC Il, p. 877).
103. Testament in Favour of the Congregation
If I die or am killed, I leave as my trusted heir the Superior of the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Fr. Joseph Xifré), who lives in Vic in Catalonia, that he may recover what their is to recover and carry out my commitments which I entrusted to him” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Miura; Madrid, April 25, 1865: EC Il, p. 877).
104. Petition of Favour for the Congregation
“I have the satisfaction of informing you that the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the approval of which you worked so hard, is still, thanks to God and Mary Most Holy, doing very well and is on the increase. For some time in these parts students, priests and even pastors of the finest qualities have entered it, while other are aspiring to, and we trust that in a short time they will be able to help the earliest missionaries to spread to other parts the copious fruit they are presently producing in different Spanish dioceses by their missions and retreats. I also have the satisfaction of telling you that Her Majesty the Queen, who loves the Congregation very much, has seen fit to grant all the students and lay brothers who enter it the privilege of being exempt from military services”.
“But now, the Superior General of the Congregation (whom you already know) tells me that an obstacle has arisen, as you will see from his requests which I am enclosing, trusting that your well-known kindness will do me the honour of presenting them to the Holy Father. I am taking the liberty of addressing myself to you because Mons. De Luca has verbally told our intermediary that this is only granted by the Holy Father, and that consequently pastors, whom the requests concern, will, on finishing their novitiate year, will have the title of patrimony or benefice,’ which would be hardly possible, because of their growing numbers, the circumstances of the times and the facts that they come from far-off pace. As a consequence, the said pastors would have to return to their first assignments. This would bring bitterness both to them and to our fledgling Congregation, which would not only of these members, but also any hope that others of the same class would enter in the future, which is something that I and all the rest feel very deeply about.
In my opinion, if you took the trouble to present the said requests personally by word of mouth of His Holiness, favouring them as best you could, he would grant our petitions as he did for the Congregation of St. Vincent and others, since holy is piously’ Pius. On my behalf, ask them to do so out of love for the Sacred and Immaculate Heart of Mary: because of the great results being achieved by missions and retreats in all Spanish dioceses, because of the love our Missionaries have for the Holy Father, and because of the fast, alms and prayers that all the members of the mother house gladly offer him in homage. Every day of each month they offer up the last course of dinner and offer the proceeds to the diocesan bishop at the beginning of the month.
“Finally, to move your zealous heart to protect us even more before His Holiness, I would mention that this year, the members of the Congregation are giving retreats and missions in many places in the Dioceses of Barcelona, Lérida,Solsona, Gerona, Vic, Huesca, Avila and Segovia – always at the request and good pleasure of their respective bishops. Would that we had more members so that we could have answered the requests of several other bishops. As I near the end of these lines, I speak frankly to you as a friend and brother, that you may act with fuller knowledge. So I am bold to rely on you for this new act of charity, for which the Congregation and I will be eternally grateful” (Letter to Mons. Alessandro Franchi; Madrid, February 28, 1867: EC II, pp. 523-25).
105. Guidelines Concerning Claretians Students
“It seems to me that it would be good things to admit students into the Congregation.
As for the two obstacles you mention, I regard them as small and easy to overcome. The first concerns how they are going to subsist. This can be overcome by my savings for, as you already know, when you don’t have enough, you need only tell me: give and it shall be given to you. And if I can’t cover it or God should decide to take me, then the Lord Himself will take care of you. He looks after the birds and flowers; all the more He will look after His sons and soldiers fighting on his behalf. Trust Jesus and Mary and you will want from nothing. I have heard it said that who aren’t afraid of the water soon learn to swim, while those who are afraid of it sink and drown. And that is how the first obstacle is overcome.
The second obstacle is lack of rooms. Let’s see whether we can do something about this on our trip to Madrid… Meanwhile, the older students could be lodged in the retreatants’ rooms, and when there are too many retreatants’, they can shift the best way they can, since it will be settled in few a days. And that’s how these obstacles are overcome.
Now I am going to make a suggestion that you can muse over with your councillors. Admit some well-disposed students who have a vocation and show some well-founded hopes of persevering. When they know some Latin, admit them and let them spend a year of novitiate. Then let them spend another year in the house, perfecting their Latin and learning the basics of rhetoric and plain chant. For their other years of philosophy, theology, etc., they can go to the seminary, as i have seen it in Rome and elsewhere. For this, not all of them have to be here in Vic; two, four six, etc., of them could be sent to Segovia, Jaca, and so on, where they could be looked after by a priest who remains at home while the other are off on mission, and thus they will be a community in the house. These students can direct the Sunday devotions to the Heart of Mary, lead the recitation of the Rosary and teach Christian Doctrine on the Congregation’s church, and thus they will gain some very worthwhile practice. The young men should be accustomed to this practices, and can be put in charge of still other things that are compatible with their studies.
These students, two by two, could go to the seminary and return home modestly and seriously, thus edifying the other seminarians and even the laity. And as they will be applied to their studies, they will be an incentive to others. I say that they will be applied to studies, since that is their duty, yet they must see to it that they are applied to virtue as well as to learning, for they must represent the Congregation. Thus their classmates will get to know them, when the former become Pastors, they will like the Missionaries, since the latter will have been their classmates” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; San Idelfonso, September 7, 1867: EC II, pp. 1198- 1200).
106. Expansion of the Institute
“I am sending you the newspaper clipping dealing with Algiers. A number of times I’ve thought of asking you to discuss this matter and examine whether it might be possible for the Congregation to establish a house there, not just for the good of unbelievers, but also far the sake of the Congregation, so that when religious persecutions break out in Spain, the members of the Congregation can take refuge in Algiers, which is nearby. Commend this matter to God and consult about it” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Madrid, February 28, 1868: EG II, pp. 1244-45).
107. The Proto-martyr of the Congregation
“Let us give thanks to God! The Lord and His Blessed Mother have already
deigned to accept the first fruits of our martyrs. I had dearly longed to be the first martyr of the Congregation, but I have not been deemed worthy, and another has beat me to it. i salute the holy martyr Crusats and congratulate Fr. Reixach far his good fortune in being wounded, and i greet all the members of the Congregation for the happiness of being persecuted. Tell them for me to have courage and trust in the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary. Tempests and hurricanes do not last for ever; after the storm comes the calm.
seems a good idea for the novices to stay at home with their families, while those who have already made their oath of perseverance should become situated in the way you have mentioned it me.
“Tell all of them to pray much, since that it is what is most needed at the present, and to trust in Jesus and Mary, who are our parents” (Letter to Fr. Xifré; Pau (France), October 7,1968: EC II, pp. 1287-98).
108. Norms during the revolution
“As far as possible, see to it that the priests stay together two by two, with a brother or two to prepare their meals. Let them live as if they were in a mission house, keeping the rules and recollection in various towns. Let them busy themselves hearing confessions and let them encourage and console the faithful, exhorting them to pray and receive the sacraments frequently.
“As you already know, I am leaving everything to the Congregation (except an annuity to my brother and sisters in Sallent, as the rector there may see fit).
Hence everything is at your disposal for cost of travel, lodging and food for the members of the Congregation. Tell them for me to have faith and trust in Jesus and Mary.
“I myself, thank God, am content, encouraged and even happy. When I consider that God is so wise, kind and powerful that ho can bring good even out of evil, I trust that the Congregation will yet derive great benefit from these tribulations…
“As you have send Fr. Luke (whose Feast it is today), the sower sows the seed in the field. The wheat springs up quite beautifully, so that the whole field looks like a carpet of green. But ah, dear God! A great chill comes and icy north winds blows so strong that the blades of wheat seems scorched. Then, as it were not enough, the whole field Is buried in snow. The worthless hired hand is terrified, but the sower trusts that the snow will melt, the cold wind abate and good weather will come. Then he will know that all these counter forces served only to make the wheat sink deeper roots and produce fuller bundles. Courage, then!” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Pau, Octoberl8, 1868, EC II, pp.l3O4-O6).
109. Some Counsels
I am of the opinion that for the present you should be patient, prudent, silent and pray much, putting all your trust in Jesus and Mary and not in men… Don’t woriy: take ali things with patience” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Paris, November 16, 1868: EC il, p. 1317).
110. Watch and Pray
Jesus Christ told his beloved disciples: ‘Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation’ (Mt. 26:41). I tell all of you the same thing: ‘Watch and pray, lest you fail in your vocation.’ Tell them that if some of them should fail, it will be their own fault for not having prayed enough. God Is faithful -says St. Paul- who will not allow you to be tempted beyond the power of grace he gives you to resist and bring even greater good out of it (cf. I Cor 10:13). But it Is necessary that they ask for this grace through the intercession of Mary Most Holy” (Letter to Fr. Raymond Homs; Paris, January”, 1869: EC il, p. 1338)
111. The Poor and the Congregation
“Because i have always hoped and still long and hope to die and go to heaven, I have kept everything in good order, so that when death comes, you should not have the least doubt about anything. As you already know, several people, either in their wills or gifts, entrusted me with great sums to distribute among the poor. I believe I’ve carried out their wishes scrupulously. Nevertheless, since the sums I received in bank-notes alone were so great during this last few years, I didn’t have time to give it all away before I left Madrid, I kept these sums in two places. I kept most of it carefully labelled: ‘This is for the poor.’ The rest I kept in the box on my table, to have it closer at hand. This, too, have the same label. Besides these sums for the poor, I had another amount made up of my income. This also had a label: ‘This is for the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’ This arrangement is testamentary and will only come into effect when I die, for as you know I am leaving everything for the Congregation. But just as I have never (thank God) been attached to money, I likewise have no idea how much these sums add up to … Nevertheless, whenever the Congregation needs something, take it; that’s what it is for” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Paris, January 24, 1869: EC II, pp. 1346-48).
112. Desire to Retire Among His Missionaries
“I am suffering, growing old and want very much to retire from being Her Majesty’s confessor. indeed, I’ll cease being confessor as soon as she ceases being queen, for then she will have neither the authority nor the right to hold me as she has done so far, making me suffer 12 years of martyrdom. I’ll cease being confessor, I won’t remain in Madrid or in EI Escorial; I’ll retire to one of the houses of the Congregation and they would like me to do so” (Letter to Don Dionisio Gonzàlez; Rome, May, 26, 1869: EC II, p. 1391).
113. Teaching In the Congregation
“Today marks the twentieth year since Jesus and Mary gave the Holy Congregation its start, and it has continued up to the present, when the Lord has permitted the persecution which we are now undergoing, not that it might be snuffed out, but that it might increase and spread. As I told you last year at the outset of the Revolution that it would be for the Congregation like a snowfall that covers the planted Wheatfield – It does not kill the wheat but makes it hardier. So it will be with the Revolution. It will not kill the Congregation but will make it more robust and more deeply rooted. The members will come more perfect and bear more fruit… How? Let’s see:
- 1.AlI the members will keep the Rules and Constitutions in most perfect way. Haec est voluntas Dei, sanctificatio vestra (1 Thes 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification”)
- 2.Keep in mind the words of n. 63, ch. 16 of the Constitutions and reflect on them: Catechizare parvulos, pauperes et ignaros… (To catechize children, poor and the uneducated…”)
As superior General, when circumstances allow and you see fit, you can appoint one or two who have good handwriting, etc., to open a school for boys like those of the Brothers of Christian Schools, of which there are so many in France and Italy, and are doing a great deal of good. I believe that at the present they are the ones who are doing the most good for the Church and who hold out the greatest hopes for the future. God and the Blessed Virgin have set this mission aside specially for the Congregation in Spain… By this I don’t mean that everyone should be occupied with these schools. I only mean that a few, a very few, should begin, and you should appoint them so far as you see that they have zeal for this work or that they asked to be involved in it. These schools will continue to grow in keeping with the fidelity with which these men correspond to grace. God and the Blessed Virgin will bring us members qualified for this work, so that without loosing sight of their primary aim, they may devote themselves to this special branch: Haec oportet tacere, et illa non omittere (Mt 22:23 “These things should be done, while not leaving the others undone”).
114. Care in the Selection of Vocations
“One day a priest I know showed up and spoke to me of some young men who had come to Rome…, but I’m not sure what kind of counselling they had. As I have learned, some acquaintances of theirs have come here and by their conversations they have lost their vocations, as often happens. Nevertheless, I am quite apprehensive when someone who has been elsewhere enters the Congregation” (Letter to Fr. Joseph Xifré; Rome, March 22, 1870: EC II, p. 1457).
“The Lord made me understand that I would not only have to preach to sinners but that i would also have to preach to and catechize simple farmers and villagers. Hence he said to me, The poor and need ask for water, and there is none, their tongue Is parched with thirst. I, Yahweh, will answer them. I, the God 01 Israel, will not abandon them’ (Is 9:17). ‘I will make rivers well up on barren heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys; turn the wilderness into a lake, and dry ground into a water spring’ (Is 9:18).
“And in a very particular way God our Lord made me understand those words: ‘Spiritus Domini super me et evangelizare pauperibus misit me Dominus et sanare contritos corde’ (Lk 4:18, citing Is 61:1, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… and the Lord has sent me to preach the good news to the poor and heal the broken hearted’) (Aut 118).
115. To Evangelize the Poor
Three years ago a very zealous person worked hard to bring members of the Congregation of Christian Doctrine from France to Spain, but was unable to do so because the Lord and the Blessed Virgin had destined the Congregation to do this work, and I trust in the Lord and in Our Lady that the members of the Congregation will not turn a deaf ear to this call.
Now I don’t want you to get upset or think that everyone should go into teaching. l’ve already told you how to go about it… God and the Blessed Virgin will presently inspire you on the way in which you must proceed. But if someone really dislikes this work, I beg you not to assign him to ft. Better to leave him idles, otherwise sadness would gnaw at him like a worm in the heart of an apple, so that at the first gust of wind he would f all from the tree. So il someone like this should fail from the tree of the Congregation, you should never be surprised nor give up because of it. Courage: God and the Blessed Virgin will not abandon their work…
P.S. – With these schools, you will make yourselves pleasing to God and to the people; without them you will always be slandered and persecuted by the wicked, who want to sin and don’t want anyone to reprove them for it. As Gerson says, in dealing with adults one must do greater labour twice, and sometimes without fruit, whereas in dealing with children one has only to work once, and ordinarily with great and notable results. However, let them bear in mind the words of Ch. 7, n. 18 (of the Constitutions) on chastity. Moreover, they should not admit all the children of a town, but only those who…(unfinished phrase) (Letter to Fr. Xifré; Rome, July 16,1869: EC II, pp. 1405-08).
116. Claret, Son and Minister of Mary
“O Virgin Mother of God, mother and advocate of the poor and unhappy sinners, you are well aware that I am your son and minister, formed in the furnace of your mercy and love, I am like an arrow poised in your mighty hand. Release me, my Mother, with the full force of your arm… Release me against Satan, the prince of this world, who has made an alliance with the flesh.
“May victory be yours, my Mother; you shall overcome. Yes, you have the power to end all heresies, errors and vices. And so, trusting in your most powerful protection, I begin to do battle not only against flesh and blood, but against the rulers 01 darkness, as the Apostles says (Eph 6:12), taking up the shield of the Holy Rosary and armed with the two-edged sword of God’s Word (Heb4: 12)” (Aut 270-71).
117. Apostolic Prayer
“O my God and my Father, may I know you and make you known, love you and make you loved, serve you and make you served, praise you and make all creatures praise you. Grant, my Father, that all sinners be converted, all the just persevere in grace, and all of us attain eternal glory. Amen” (Aut 233).
118. Offering to Mary
Although this selection of Claretian texts has thus far been limited to the Saint’s Correspondence, we would like to add by way of an appendix, some texts we consider essential, taken from the “Autobiographical Writings” of our Saint (EA ed. BAC: Madrid, 1985).
I entrust myself entirely to Mary as her son and priest. Therefore, every day I will recite her Chaplet of Antiphons: Gaude Maria, Dignare me, etc. She will be my mother, Teacher and Director, and hers will be all that I do and suffer in this ministry, for the fruit belongs to her who planted the tree” (Retreat Resolutions, 1843: EA p. 523).
119. A Claretian ‘Magnificat’
“My God, may you be blessed for deigning to choose your humble servants to be Sons of the Immaculate Heart of your Most Holy Mother!
‘Most Blessed Mother, may the courtesy of your Immaculate Heart, in accepting us as your Sons, be praised a thousands times! Mother, make us cooperate with such kindness by becoming daily more humble, fervent and zealous for the salvation of the Souls” (Aut 492-93).
120. Definition of a Missionary
“I tell myself: A Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever ho goes. Ho desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set the whole world on f ire with God’s love. Nothing daunts him; ho delights on privations, and rejoices in suffering. His only concern is how he can best follow Jesus Christ and imitate Him in working, suffering, and striving constantly and single-mindedly for the greater glory of God and the salvation of the souls” (Aut 494).
121. On Mortification
On September 41859, at 4:25 in the morning, Jesus Christ told me: You have to teach your Missionaries mortification, Anthony’. A few minutes later, the Blessed Virgin told me: ‘ff you do, the results will be great, Anthony” (Aut 684).
122. The Seven Thunders
“On September 24 1959, the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, at 11:30 in the morning, the Lord gave me an understanding of another passage in the Apocalypse (10:1): ‘Then I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow about his head; his face shone like the sun and his legs like pillars of fire. In his hand he held a little scroll that had been opened. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land (first in his diocese of Cuba and later in other dioceses), and then ho gave a loud cry like the roar of a lion. When ho cried out, the seven thunders raised their voices too.’ Here come the sons of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 11 says seven, but seven Is an indefinite number, meaning all. They are called thunders because of their love and zeal, like that of Sts. James and John, who were called sons of thunders. And the Lord wants me and my companions to imitate the Apostles James and John in zeal, chastity, and love for Jesus and Mary” (Aut 686).
123. The Spirit of Your Father and Mother
“The Lord told me both for myself and for all these missionary companions of mine: Non vos estis qui loquimini, sed Spiritus Patris vestri et Matris vestrae qui loquitur in vobis’ (Mt 10:20: ‘For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of the Father (and of your Mother) speaking through you’). So true is this that each one of us will be able to say: ‘Spiritus Domini super me, propter quod unxit me, evangolizare pauperibus rnisit me, sanare contritus cord’ (cf. Is 61:1, Lk 4:18: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore he has anointed me. Ho has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken hearted’)” (Aut 697).
124. The Missionaries: Mary’s Arms
The Congregation of the Heart of Mary. On Ascension Thursday, 1970, a devote soul was kneeing before the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary from eleven until noon, contemplating the mystery of the Feast, when he came to understand that the Sons of the Congregation are like the arms of Mary, and that they must, by their zeal, draw everyone to Mary: the just, that they may persevere in grace, and sinners, that they may be converted”.
“Jesus is the head of the Church. Mary Most Holy, and more immediately her Heart, is the neck.
“The arms of Mary are the Missionaries of her Congregation, who by their zeal will work for and embrace everyone, and will pray Jesus and Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary will avail herself of them as her arms and as her maternal breasts to feed the little ones, as a mother would seek out the services of a wet nurse. The Missionaries are wet nurses who must feed poor little sinners with the breasts of wisdom and love; and both of these breasts must be in equal supply.
“Thus, like good and healthy mothers, they must make sure to eat frequently, both for themselves and for their nurslings, just as all good nurses do. The food that these nurses must take is prayer – mental, vocal and aspiratory – and spiritual reading…, moral theology, doctrine, sermons” (Lights and Graces, 1870: EA p. 665).
TABLE OF CONTENT:
I. MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE OF CLARET
1. Universal Spirit
2. His State of Mind
3. The Weight of the Cross
4. Obedience and Poverty
5. The Religious Press
6. His Desire to Fulfil the Mission Entrusted to Him
7. Missions in the Archdiocese of Santiago, Cuba
8. “I have fulfilled my mission”
9. “Desire to Resign from His Archdiocese
10. Activities During His First Pastoral Visit
11. Huckster or Prelate9
12. “I am Claret and I speak clearly”
13. Reaction to the Attempt on His Life at Holguin
14. Joy over the Attempt on His Life
15. Plans for Missioning in Spain
16. Apostolic Hopes for the Future
17. Desire to Do Gods Will
18. The Slave of Mary
19. The Hand of Providence
20. The Value of Silence
21. Obedience to the Church and to the Pope
22. To Announce the Good News Throughout the World..
23. To Preach the Word
24. Love for the Roman Pontiff
25. Clarets “Great Mission”
26. Attitude in the Face of illness
27. Bitterness of living in Madrid
28. In the Face of Slanders and Persecutions
29. Yearnings far Universal Evangelization
30. A Fine Instance of Humility
31. Love far the Pope
32. Tireless Activity
33. Missionary Restlessness
34. Self Defence
35. Persecutions Suffered
36. Calm in Face of Slanders
37. Apostolic Daring
38. Preference far the People of Holguin
39. Solidarity with the Episcopate
40. On the Religious Library
41. Fidelity to the Pope
42. Serenity in the Face of Danger
43. From Death to Life
44. Claret’s True Vocation
45. The Spread of the Good Books
46. Longing for Heaven; love far the Cross
47. Attitudes while Doing God’s Work
48. Devotion to the Virgin of Fussimanya
49. Contemplation of the Holy Family
50. From the Passion to the Resurrection
51. Annoyance with the Politics
52. Societies for Émigrés in Paris
53. Simile of the Figs
54. The Association of Catholics Mothers
55. The Disciple is not Greater than His Master
56. “I have Fulfilled my Mission”
57. Desire to Die for Jesus Christ
58. In Defence of the Church and the Pope
I I. SPIRIT AND MISSION OF THE CLARETIAN
59. Missionary Lifestyle and Selection of Vocation
60. Problems and Activities of the first Claretians
61. Situation of the First Claretians
62. He Remembers His Missionaries
63. Survival and Spread of the Congregation
64. Concern of Approval of the Constitutions
65. Mutual Help in Sickness
66. On the Death of Fr. Stephen Sala
67. Congratulations to the New Superior General
68. Recommendations Concerning the Missionaries
69. On the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
70. The Apostolic Number
71. Need for Missionaries
72. Trust in Providence
73. No Involvement with money or Women
74. Love far Missionaries
75. Civil Approval of Constitutions
76. Recognition of Studies of the Congregation
77. Plans concerning the EI Escorial
78. El Escorial: Mission Center
79. Claretian in EI Escorial
80. Advice on Following One’s Vocation
81. Advice to Missionaries: Study languages
82. Strengthen Missionary Vocation
83. Govern by Exampl84. Need to Extend the Congregation 32
85. Longing to Preach: Love for Missionaries 32
86. Expansion of the Congregation 33
87. Courage in Face of Illness 33
88. Pray for Worker in the Lord’s Vineyard 33
89. The Regulation for the Students 33
90. “We need to make people’” 34
91. Claret’s House in Madrid 34
92. Do Not Sleep: Expand the Congregation 35
93. Need for Missionaries BREVATIONS
94. The Feast of the Heart of Mary 36
95. Missionary Ministry of the Press 36
96. Books and Holy Cards 36
97. An Account of the Congregation 36 1981).
98. Advice to His Missionaries 38
99. “The Vocation of Boys” 39 prepared
100. Search for God’s Will 39 by Jose Maria Vinas, CMF (Madrid 1981).
101. Peace and Joy amidst Persecution 39
102. A “Temptation” to the Congregation 40
103. Testament to the Congregation 40 1970 and 1987) 3 vols.
104. Favour Sought for Congregation 40 . .
105. Guidelines on Claretian Students 41 Life).
106. Expansion of the Institute 42
107. The Proto-martyr of the Congregation 42
108. Norms During the Revolution 43
109. Some Counsels 44
110. Watch and Pray 44
111. The Poor and the Congregation
112. Wants to Retire among His Missionaries 44
113. Teaching in Selecting Vocation 45
114. Care in Selecting Vocations 46
115. To Evangelize the Poor 47
116. Claret, Son and Minister of Mary 47
117. Apostolic Prayer 47
118. An Offering to Mary 47
119. A Claretian “Magnificat 48
120. Definition of a Missionary 48
121. On Mortification 48
122. The Seven Thunders 48
123. The Spirit of Your Father and Your Mother 49
124. The Missionaries: Mary’s Arms 49
Aut Autobiography of Saint Anthony Mary Claret (ed. Madrid: BAC,Madrid)
EA Escritos autoboigraficos de San Antonio Maria Claret, ed.
EC Epistolario Claret,ano, prepared by Jose Maria Gil, CMF (Madrid)
PC Perfectae Caritatis ( Decree of Vatican Il on Religious)