1847. Claret is preaching a mission in Cornudella (Tarragona) accompanied by Fr. Manuel Vilaro and by layperson Miguel Iter. It is a team that preludes those of the Congregation of missionaries.
1849. Claret preaches in Tunte de Tirajana (Canary Islands). He reports that in each town they are sending him forth as a hero, in a real triumphant procession.
1859. The Lord made me understand that I am like the earth…The earth is trampled on and is silent; I should be trampled on and be silent.
THE FOUNDATION (1849 -1858)
A YEAR WITH THE FOUNDER
Shortly after the foundation, on August 4, the first major test arrived: Father Claret was appointed Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. He tried to oppose, prayed, consulted several trusted friends, and finally accepted on October 4th. In spite of this, Claret intensely dedicated the time before his consecration to the formation of the members of the first missionary community, to the extent that the various commitments in preparation for the celebration of his consecration and the journey allowed him. It could be said that it was the novitiate year of the newly born Congregation. According to his words: We live in community in this school a truly poor and apostolic life. He wanted his missionaries to be itinerant in the style of the Apostles, he did not even want them to be responsible for Masses or confessions in the church of La Merced; for this he had two priest friends: Mariano Aguilar and Benito Casamitjana. When Claret left for Cuba, he left Fr. Stephen Sala as Superior and Fr. Bernardo Sala and Fr. Dominic Fabregas as Consultors.
The former Seminary of Vic
Clemente Serrat, CMF
IV Superior General (1832-1906)
Gurb (Barcelona). He entered the Congregation ten years after its foundation. Father Claret, speaking with Fr. Xifre, made this complimentary comment about him: Xifre, keep this young man; he will be a treasure for the Congregation. From 1869 he went on to hold positions of formation for the young novices and professed, and as a formator in the colleges of Thuir, Vic, Gracia, Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Cervera. He was present at all important meetings and government Councils. He held the position of General Consultor first, later that of Sub-Director General and Superior General in 1899, succeeding Fr. Xifre. If Fr. Xifre inherited traditions and energy from the Founder, Fr. Serrat inherited his gentleness, prudence and love from him. He led the Congregation for six years. He made some twenty foundations of houses and colleges, particularly in lands of Africa and in the Spanish-American countries. He died in Segovia, in the foundation which he had founded and where his remains are currently laid.
The first ideas I can remember date back to when I was five years old. When I went to bed, instead of sleeping – I never have been much of a sleeper – I used to think about eternity. I would think forever, forever, forever. I would try to imagine enormous distances and pile still more distances on these and realize that they would never come to an end. Then I would shudder and ask myself if those who were so unhappy as to go to an eternity of pain would ever see an end to their suffering. Would they have to go on suffering? Yes, forever and forever they will have to bear their pain! (Aut 8)
This idea of a lost eternity that began to move me so vividly at the tender age of five and that has stayed with me ever since and that, God willing, I will never forget is the mainspring and goad of my zeal for the salvation of souls. (Aut 15)
FOR PERSONAL REFELCTION
- What are your first memories that have to do with your apostolic vocation?
- Did you have a religious experience that you have never forgotten?
- What is the current motivation of your missionary service?
- Looking at your past: Where did your first vocational calls begin?
- Looking at your present: What makes you continue to be what you are?
- Looking at the future: What do you dream of?
What more can you desire, what more can you seek without, seeing that within you have your riches, your delight, your satisfaction, your fullness and your kingdom; that is, your Beloved, Whom you desire and seek?”
(St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, I.8)