St Anthony Mary Claret was a 19th century Spanish Catholic archbishop and missionary. He founded the Claretians and was the confessor of Isabella II of Spain.
What Was Saint Anthony Mary Claret Known For?
Anthony Maria Claret i Clarà was born to a devout family in Sallent, Province of Barcelona, on December 23rd, 1807.
He was the fifth of the eleven children of Juan and Josefa Claret.
St Anthony Mary Claret became a weaver as a boy and was adept at programming the Jacquard loom.
Through extensive personal study, he became proficient in Latin and in French.
He felt God’s call to religious life and entered seminar in 1829. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 13th, 1835.
After many travels and an attempt to become a Jesuit, St Anthony was sent as a missionary to Catalonia.
Here he began his famous preaching journeys, which he made on foot. He also began hearing confessions for hours and hours on end, and his preaching moved many people by its eloquence and wisdom.
After being threatened by anti-clerical forces, he was moved to the Canary Islands for a time.
When recalled to Spain, Claret founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known as the Claretians, on July 16th, 1849.
That same year, Pope Pius IX made Claret the Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba.
He transformed the diocese, the faith of the people, and the seminary.
He built schools, including vocational ones for poorer children, and a hospital.
He traversed the diocese and preached missions at all the parishes.
He tirelessly visited people in jails and hospitals, and he defended the oppressed and fought racism.
His work angered many, including a Freemason who stabbed St Anthony Mary Claret in an assassination attempt.
The man was sentenced to death, but St Anthony requested that his sentence be commuted to life in prison, and that was granted.
Gifted as a preacher, with miracles, and with levitation, St Anthony’s holiness spread far and wide.
On September 3rd, 1859, Jesus told St Anthony that there were three great evils descending upon mankind.
The first would be world-shattering wars. The second were the demons of pleasure, love of money, false reasoning and a will separated from God. The third would be a chastisement brought about by Communism. (Communism at this time was in its infancy and almost unknown outside.)
Two year later Jesus told St Anthony that the remedy to the great evil of Communism would include devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Rosary.
St Anthony Mary Claret died on October 24th, 1870. He was 62 years old.
His remains are buried in the Catalan city of Vic.