1860. Claret begins a triduum of preaching about reparation in the church of Montserrat on the occasion of the carnival.
1862. Claret begins Spiritual Exercises for women in the Church of Montserrat (Madrid). Meanwhile, he is busy writing his autobiography.
EARLY EXPANSION (1870-1899)FOUNDATION IN SPOLETO (ITALY)
On October 19, 1896, Fr. Jeronimo Batllo, accompanied by Br. Ramon Otal and Fr. Nicolas N., Missionary of the Precious Blood, visited first the Convent and Church of San Felice, bishop and martyr, located in the parish of Giano, Archdiocese, and Province of Spoleto (Perugia), and the Shrine of Our Lady of Fosco, 4 ½ km from San Felice. Both shrines had belonged to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Fr. Xifre had already gone to see them on his own in the company of Fr. Batllo, although he could not visit the Shrine of the Virgin of Fosco since his ailments did not permit him. On March 17th, the Congregation for Religious Orders approved the agreement of cession and on April 6, 1897, on the 6 a.m. train Fr. Antonio Naval and Brothers Angel Salas and Julian Escudero traveled to Spoleto, arriving at the Shrine of Fosco in the afternoon on the 8th. Due to the difficulties they encountered, the foundation was abolished just one year later.
Gregorio Martínez de Antoñana, CMFMissionary and Liturgist (1885-1971)
Santa Cruz de Kanpezu (Álava, Spain). Liturgist and writer. The first part of his life was spent as a professor of Theology and a contributor to the magazine Ilustracion del Clero [Enlightenment of the Clergy] (1911-1918). From 1934 to 1939 he lived in Rome where he perfected his law studies at the Gregorian University and came into contact with the Roman liturgical movements. From 1939 until the year of his death (1971), Fr. Antoñana devoted himself completely to liturgical studies and to their pastoral dissemination from the community Buen Suceso, 22 in Madrid. Ignacio Oñatibia, a famous Guipuzcoan liturgist, came to say of him: One can only admire the exemplariness of a life dedicated to the vocation of study like the one of Father Antoñana. At 85 years old he retired to the community in Agurain, Alava where he died on February 13th. His best-known work was Manual de Liturgia Sagrada [Manual of Sacred Liturgy] (1921), with ten editions, and the Antoñana missals, which also had several editions.
The fullness of His Vocational Discovery
Ever since I lost the desire to become a Carthusian—which God had used to uproot me from worldliness—I not only thought about becoming holy myself, but I was continuously trying to imagine what I could do to save the souls of my neighbors. Hence I prayed continuously to Jesus and Mary, offering myself to them for this purpose. The lives of the saints, which we read daily at the table, and my own spiritual reading all contributed to this. But what moved and stimulated me most was reading the Holy Bible, to which I have always been very strongly attracted. (Aut 113)
There were passages that impressed me so deeply that I seemed to hear a voice telling me the message I was reading. There were many such passages, but the following stand out: Apprehendi te ab extremis terrae et a longinquis ejus vocavi te et dixi: servus es tu, elegi te et non abjeci te (Is XLI, 9) “You whom I brought out from the confines of the earth and called from the ends of the world.” By these words I understood how the Lord had called me without any merit on the part of my birthplace, my parents, or myself. You to whom I said, you are my servant, I have chosen you, not rejected you. (Aut 114)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
Finally, after a long search, Claret finds, in light of the Word, his missionary vocational identity.
- What are the means that have helped you discover your missionary vocation?
- Which texts of Sacred Scripture are most important to you?
(Josep M. Abella Batlle, Witnesses and Messengers of the God of Life, 3)