St. Anthony Mary Claret

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret. St. Anthony was born in Spain in 1807, and grew up doing manual labor with his father; but he decided to become a priest, and having worked as a pastor, he was sent to Rome and worked for the Propagation of the Faith. Here the importance of missionary work would get into his bones.
Returning to his homeland, he spent a good deal of time as a priest in country life, giving talks in the small, rural towns. He was often giving conferences for the diocesan priests, and he wrote over 150 books.
The Order he founded is called the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; but it is more commonly known as the Claritians. Anthony Claret frequently visited the Missions he founded, and even became bishop of Santiago, in Cuba. He spoke out forcefully and often against slavery of the Africans which sadly, was beginning to take root.
His zealous work stirred up much opposition in the anti-clerical mood of the period, as had happened previously in Spain. No fewer than 15 attempts were made on his life, and at Holguín his cheek was slashed from ear to chin by an assassin’s knife.
In 1869 he was in Rome, preparing for the First Vatican Council. He was sent into exile at the insistence of the Spanish Ambassador, and died under house arrest at the age of 63
Let us today read from his own writings. He says this:
Driven by the fire of the Holy Spirit, the apostles traveled throughout the earth. Inflamed with the same fire, missionaries today travel to the ends of the earth to proclaim the word of God.
And to us also, the love of Christ urges us to run and be lifted up on the wings of holy zeal for the gospel. I say this to you:
The one who burns with the fire of divine love is a son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, And wherever he goes, he desires and works with all his strength to inflame people with the fire of God’s love. Such a person rejoices in poverty, welcomes hardships, laughs at false accusations, and rejoices in anguish.
The child of Mary thinks only of how he might follow Christ and imitate him in his prayers, his labors, and his sufferings. One who is such a child, cares always and only, for the glory of God, and the salvation of souls.
– from the writings of St. Anthony Mary Claret –

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