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October 24

St Anthony Mary Claret - October 24

Saint Anthony Mary Claret
Archbishop
Founder of Claretians
(1807 – 1870)

“Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity – the fire of love of God and neighbor – it will work wonders.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life

Antonio (Anthony) was born December 23, 1807 at Sallent, Catalonia, Spain as the fifth of eleven children. Anthony’s earliest memories of home were the family’s praying the Rosary and going to church which imbued him with a deep love and devotion to Jesus and Mary.

Since his father owned a factory, Anthony became a weaver himself. In his free time, he learned Latin and printing. At 17, he was sent to Barcelona, where he honed his skills. Later on, he became director of operations, and in this office he learned how true it is “that much more may be gained by kindness than by harshness and irritability.” With his new skills, Anthony was offered jobs with large textile companies. However, Anthony rejected these offers, feeling called to serve God as a missionary priest.

Ordained Priest

At the age of 22, Anthony entered the seminary at Vich, Catalonia, Spain, as a student with Saint Francisco Coll Guitart. On June 13, 1835, Anthony was ordained a priest. After a few years he began to entertain the idea of a Barthusian vocation but it seemed beyond his strength, so he traveled to Rome to join the Jesuits with the idea of becoming a foreign missionary. Ill health, however, caused him to leave the Jesuit novitiate and he returned to pastoral work at Sallent in 1837.

Anthony left for Rome in 1839 and entered the Jesuit novitiate. Once again, his health failed him, and he was forced to return to Catalonia. For the next decade, Anthony spent preaching parochial missions and retreats throughout Catalonia. During this time, he helped Blessed Joachima de Mas to establish the Carmelites of Charity. He worked tirelessly to spread the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Late in 1842, Anthony was appointed an Apostolic Missionary to all of mountainous Catalonia, with its 13 cities and 400 towns.

Missionary to the Canary Islands

Anthony also published a catechism that led the Bishop Codina of the Canary Islands to invite him to preach there, fulfilling Anthony’s dream to be a missionary. After 15 months there (1848-49), Anthony returned to Vich, Spain. His evangelical zeal inspired other priests to join in the same work. So, on July 16 1849, recognizing the need for a religious congregation dedicated to this mission, Anthony founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, also known as the Claretians.

Quenchless Thirst to Rescue Souls

In December of 1850, Anthony was saying good-bye to friends in Spain before leaving to take charge of the Archdiocese of Santiago, Cuba. At dawn one day, he took a stagecoach to go to visit the Archbishop of Tarragona. When the coach drew into Villafranca del Panades, about 7 a.m., all the priests of the town were there to meet it and begged Anthony to interrupt his journey and come to their aid. As soon as he heard their story, Anthony dismounted and sent word to his host that he had met with a delay.

Four criminals were to be executed there that morning – three boys in their late teens and a man of forty – and all four had absolutely refused to confess and receive Communion.

The pastor of the town pressed Anthony to have a quick cup of hot chocolate and hurry over to the prison. No, said Anthony, they must first go to the church and place the affair in God’s hands. When they had done this, they went to the prison, and the missionary was at once admitted to see the condemned men.

Anthony’s warm, fatherly pleas soon conquered the three younger criminals. They made their confessions, and the chaplain prepared to administer them Viaticum, the last Communion. He asked the young men, according to the custom, if they forgave all who had injured them. Two replied yes.

The third said yes, he forgave everyone except his mother. Anthony prostrated himself and kissed the boy’s feet. “My son,” he said, “if you do not pardon your mother you will be damned. For God’s sake and for my sake I beg you to forgive her.” “No,” the young man said, “it is on her account that I am in this trouble. If she had punished me in time I would not be here. I do not forgive her.”

The four prisoners were covered with execution robes, mounted on mules, and led to the scaffold. The moment before his sentence of death was carried out, the unforgiving youth shouted, “I forgive my mother from my heart. Pray for me!”

Then the older man, the toughest of the four, held up his arms and asked to confess. Seated on the bench, with his head covered, he confessed and was absolved. Then the four men were put to death.

Some time after, God revealed to Anthony the judgment the four had received. In a public conference, Anthony emphatically stated: “The four criminals of V,illafranca were saved.”

The life of Anthony Mary Claret is full of such striking variety that a rapid glance scarcely reveals the thread that links everything he did.

Appointed Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba

On May 20, 1850, Anthony’s missionary zeal and dedication to the faith led him to be appointed by Pope Pius IX as the Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba. During his six-year tenure, Anthony did much for the practical and spiritual welfare of the Cuban people. He worked diligently to promote education, founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate, and established numerous schools and educational institutions. He set up vocational schools, akin to modern-day apprenticeships, for disadvantaged children, as well as credit unions for the poor.

In his first few years, he confirmed 100,000 people and validated 9,000 marriages. His exploits led to some opposition. Anthony survived an assassination attempt when he was stabbed in the cheek at Holguin in 1856, by a man angered that his mistress was won back to an honest life.

To give the faithful the greatest possible opportunity for confession he would hear confessions himself five or six hours each day, for many people would not confess their sins to any other priest. The fruit of his missions was chiefly seen in the unprecedented number of people who received Holy Communion on the closing day. At the end of his mission in Santiago, in Lent, 1851, it took three priests, distributing Holy Communion steadily from 6:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., to care for the thousands of communicants.

His Works

Anthony is said to have preached over 10,000 sermons and once preached twelve sermons in one day. Anthony wrote 144 books with most of his works were published in Spanish, especially during his stay in Cuba and Madrid. His Autobiography of Anthony Mary Claret is an autobiography that, according to the introduction, was written from 1861 to 1862 at the command of Anthony’s spiritual director, Joseph Xifré.

Queen Isabella II’s Confessor

In 1857, Anthony was recalled to Spain to serve as confessor to Queen Isabella II and had a significant influence on her spiritual life. He used the opportunity of traveling with the Royal court to evangelize communities throughout the country. He accompanied the Queen into exile following the 1868 revolution. Despite this setback, Saint Anthony continued to serve and support others through his spiritual guidance and charitable endeavors.

Anthony attended Vatican Council I (1869-70) where he influenced the definition of papal infallibility. An attempt was made to lure him back to Spain, but it failed. Antony retired to Prades, France, but was forced to flee to a Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide near Narbonne when the Spanish ambassador demanded his arrest.

His Death

Anthony died on October 24, 1870 in a Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide, Narbonne, France and was buried in Vich, Spain. His order, he founded, the Claretians, has over 450 houses and 3100 members, with missions in five continents.

Born:                  December 23, 1807 at Sallent, Catalonia, Spain

Died:                  October 24, 1870 at Fontfroide, Narbonne, France

Beatified:           February 25, 1934 by Pope Pius XI

Canonized:        May 7, 1950, by Pope Pius XII

Feast Day:         October 24, (formerly per-1970) October 23

Patron Saint:    Catholic Press; Claretians; Editors; Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; Savings; Savings Banks; Weavers

Source:

Reflection

Saint Anthony Mary Claret understood that true evangelization involved not only preaching but also addressing the social and economic challenges that people faced. As Archbishop of Cuba, he established schools and libraries, promoting literacy. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the poor and marginalized, even starting a credit union to help the poor with savings. He founded the Claretians, a congregation dedicated to the mission of evangelization, working in numerous countries to spread the Gospel and serve those in need.

How can you, today, be bold and creative in sharing the Gospel, address the holistic needs of those you serve, cultivating a deep personal relationship with Christ and His Blessed Mother?

Prayers

Saint Anthony Mary Claret,

You, who were a fervent missionary and servant of God, with unwavering zeal, spreading the Gospel and reaching out to souls in need of Christ’s love.

Intercede for us, that we may be filled with the same fervor to proclaim the Gospel in our words and actions.

Help us to recognize and respond to the needs of our neighbors, both spiritually and materially, following your example of compassion and service.

Saint Anthony Mary Claret, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – New biopic on St. Anthony Mary Claret coming to theaters in August

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 24 October – St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) CMF

Angelus – Saint of the day: Anthony Claret

Butler’s Lives Of The Saints Complete Edition – St Antony Claret

Catholic Culture – Optional Memorial of St. Anthony Claret, Bishop

Catholic Exchange – St. Anthony Mary Claret and Missionary Zeal

Catholic Fire – St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (1807 – 1870)

Catholic Herald – The saint who was stabbed in the cheek

Catholic Insight – Anthony Mary Claret, On Fire for God

Catholic Ireland – Oct 24 – St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-70) Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba

Catholic Lane – St. Anthony Mary Claret

Catholic News Agency – St. Anthony Claret Feast day: Oct 24

Catholic Online – St. Anthony Mary Clare

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Anthony (Antony) Mary Claret, Founder – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Catholic Tradition – St. Anthony Mary Claret

Claretian Missionaries of the United Kingdom and Ireland – St. Anthony Mary Claret

Daily Prayers – Anthony Mary Claret

Franciscan Media – Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Heralds of the Gospel – St. Anthony Mary Claret – Consumed with Thirst for Souls

Independent Catholic News – St Antony Claret

Letters from the Saints – St Anthony Mary Claret: Something Big from Something Small

Loyola Press – Saint Anthony Mary Claret Feast Day October 24

Melanie Rigney – Anthony Mary Claret

New Advent – MacErlean, A. (1914). Ven. Antonio María Claret y Clará. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Anthony Mary Claret’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Anthony Claret (1807-1870)

Saint of the Day – October 24 Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Sanctoral – Saint Anthony Mary Claret Founder of the Claretian Fathers and the Sisters of Mary Immaculate (1807-1870)

The Saint Challenge – St. Anthony Mary Claret – October 24

Tradition in Action – St. Anthony Mary Claret – October 23 by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

uCatholic – Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Video Link

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Anthony Mary Claret – YouTube Video (CatholicSaints.Info)