Monday, October 30, 2006

Saint Anthony Claret

Anthony was born at Sallent, Spain, in 1807. In 1835 he became a priest and was sent to his home parish. Later he went to Rome and worked to help the missions. He joined the Jesuits as a novice, but he became ill.

In 1849, he founded the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The institute is known by his name as "the Claretians." Father Claret was appointed Archbishop of Santiago in Cuba.

Archbishop Anthony visited parishes, speaking out against social evils, especially slavery. He blessed marriages and baptized children. He made many changes in Cuba, but this made him many enemies.

His work for the church was cut short by men who tried to take his life. Here he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are known as the Claretians.

Father Anthony knew how powerful books were to reach people and he wrote at least 150 books. His most well-known book, The Right Way, has reached millions of people.

At the request of Pope Pius IX, he returned to Spain and devoted himself to missionary work and the spreading of good literature. He was a dedicated preacher in his parish. He gave conferences to priests. His zeal inspired other priests to join in the same work.

In the course of his life he is said to have preached ten thousand sermons and to have published two hundred books or pamphlets for both priests and lay people.

He spread devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary by his preaching and writings. God rewarded Anthony with the gift of propecy and miracles.

St. Anthony died in a Cistercian monastery in France on October 24, 1870. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII.

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