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Claret, Anthony Mary, St.


Archbishop, founder of the Claretians; b. Sallent, Spain, Dec. 23, 1807; d. Frontfroid, France, Oct. 24, 1870. A weaver's son, he worked in his youth as a weaver and a designer in the textile mills of Barcelona. In 1835 he was ordained for the Diocese of Vich, and after 1840 he became one of Spain's most popular preachers. In his preaching he centered everything on devotion to the Eucharist and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He founded a congregation of preachers called the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (see claretians). In 1850 he was appointed to the much-neglected Archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. Immediately he set about reforming the seminary and his clergy and began extensive visitations of his vast territory. His greatest efforts were directed against the widespread concubinage and illegitimacy on the island. He also encouraged sound farming methods and credit unions among the poor so as to create material conditions favorable to good Christian family life. In 1857 he returned to Spain to become the confessor of Queen Isabella II. The frequent royal tours of the country afforded him an occasion to resume his earlier preaching. Claret was also impressed by the power of the popular press. In Catalonia and Madrid, he founded societies to publish and distribute free Catholic literature, much of which he himself had written. His position at the royal court excited the suspicion and hostility of the anticlerical liberals, and consequently he became the victim of vicious calumny in the radical press. During the revolution of 1868 Claret, forced to leave Spain, went to Rome where he participated in Vatican Council I. On May 31, 1870, he spoke before the council in defense of papal infallibility. Claret died at the Cistercian Monastery of Frontfroid, France. He was beatified by Pius XI on Feb. 25, 1934 and canonized by Pius XII on May 7, 1950.

Feast: Oct. 24 (formerly Oct. 23).

Bibliography: a. m. claret, Escritos autobiográficos y espirituales (Madrid 1959, rep. 1981); Autobiografía, ed. j. m. viÑas (Barcelona 1975) and Eng. tr. j. davies (Chicago 1976). El Apóstol claretiano seglar, ed. j. bermejo (Barcelona 1979). a. cabrÉ rufatt, Evangelizador de dos mundos (Barcelona 1983). fr. codinachs i verdaguer, Pobre i a peu (Barcelona 1997). c. fernÁndez, El padrito (Madrid 1972); El Beato Padre Antonio María Claret (Madrid 1941); El confesor de Isabel II y sus actividades en Madrid (Madrid 1964). j. m. garcia-cascales, Antonius M. Claret (4th ed. Vienna 1970). f. gutiÉrrez, Azorín y San Antonio María Claret (Madrid 1979). j. m. lozano, El Corazón de María en San Antonio María Claret (Madrid 1963); The Claretians, tr. j. daries (Chicago 1980); Anthony Claret: A Life at the Service of the Gospel (Chicago 1985). f. royer, St. Anthony Claret (New York 1957). d. sargent, Assignments of Antonio Claret (New York 1948).

[t. p. joyce]

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