Schwartz, Anton Maria, Bl.

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Piarist priest, founder of the Catholic Association of Apprentices Katholischer Lehringsverein and the Congregation of Christian Workers of St. Joseph Calasanz (Kalasantiners ), apostle to working men; b. Baden (near Vienna), Austria, Feb. 28, 1852; d. Vienna, Sept. 15, 1929. The ministry of Anton Schwartz was shaped by his early life growing up in a large, working-class family. He was the fourth of thirteen children of a theater musician. While attending secondary school in Vienna, Anton sang at the Heiligenkreuz. He joined the Piarists at Krems (1869), but left when the prevailing Kulturkampf threatened the suppression of religious orders. After completing his studies in philosophy and theology at the diocesan seminary in Vienna, he was ordained (1875).

His first assignment was as chaplain in Marchegg (187579). Thereafter he was appointed chaplain at the Daughters of Charity hospital at Vienna-Sechshaus, where he witnessed the suffering of young workers.

In 1882, Schwartz became the "apostle of social justice" for working men decades before Pope leo xiii issued the encyclical rerum novarum. Recognizing that no organization within the Church focused on the problems experienced by apprentices and young workers, Schwartz established an association in Vienna to educate them and advocate for their rights.

With four confreres he founded the Kalasantiners (November 24, 1889) to serve working-class men just days after the consecration of the first church built by Schwartz for workers (November 17, 1889). The order of priests and brothers follows a modified Piarist Rule. They teach religion and practical skills, operate oratories, offer social services for workers, and diffuse literature, including Father Schwartz's prayer book for workers, biographies, and the monthly Saint Calasanctius-Blätter (since 1888). The order's constitutions were approved by the Vatican in 1939.

Schwartz fought against exploitation by appealing to Christian ethics, advocated for compensation for overtime and free time on Sundays for worship, and defended the right to organize. In 1908, he withdrew from all public controversy, but continued his quiet assistance.

Anton Maria Schwartz was declared venerable by John Paul II (April 6, 1995). That pope beatified him in Vienna's Heldenplatz on June 21, 1998.

Bibliography: j. bruckner, Der Wiener Arbeiterapostel P. A. M. S. (Vienna 1934). a. innerkofler, Anton Maria Schwartz (Vienna 1931). f. zimmermann, Die ersten 25 Jahre der Calasantiner-Congregation (Vienna 1914). Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1998):690.

[k. i. rabenstein]