1832. Claret receives the clerical Tonsure in the synod hall of the Bishop’s palace in Vic, with the conferment of the benefice of the Monjia in the parish of Sallent.
1858. Claret preaches at an event for the congregation of the Blue Scapular in the church of the Italians (Madrid).
1864. Claret asks Fr. Joseph Xifre and Fr. Jaime Clotet, who submitted the resignation of their general positions, to continue in them until a few months later when the elective chapter is held.
EARLY EXPANSION (1870-1899)THE CONGREGATION IN FRANCE
There were Fathers, Students, and Novices in the house in Prades. Little by little they realized that there was not enough space for so many; in addition, the persecution arrived there. But, shortly after, in May of 1872, they were able to find a house in Thuir (in the south of France), thanks to Fr. Clotet. The School-Novitiate was installed there, being at the same time the seat of the General Government. Fr. Clotet acted as Superior and Fr. Clement Serrat as Novice Master. Soon the number of Priests and Students increased in the Congregation, in ten years going from 100 to 400. Fr. Diego Gavin and Fr. Ramon Genover, great missionaries, were there while Fr. Bernardo Bech was in charge of gathering new vocations in Spain. The community in Thuir was dedicated mainly to the formation, but also worked in those lands, knowing how to adapt pretty well to the French environment, given that many people spoke in Catalan. It was then, in 1871, when the first biography of Claret appeared, written by his friend Bishop Francisco de Asis Aguilar.
The Impact of the Gospel
In the midst of this whirling of ideas, while I was at Mass one day, I remembered reading as a small boy those words of the Gospel: For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul? This phrase impressed me deeply and went like an arrow that pierced my heart. I tried to think and reason what to do, but to no avail. (Aut 68)
I was like Saul on the (road) to Damascus, but I was in need of an Ananias to tell me what to do. I went to the house of the Fathers of St. Philip Neri, walked through the cloisters, saw an open door, knocked and entered. There I met a Brother Paul, who was very fervent and devout, and I told him simply about my resolves. The good brother patiently and charitably heard me out… He took me to Father Amigo, who listened to me, approved of my decision, and counseled me to study Latin. I obeyed him. (Aut 69)
Basilica of Saints Justus and Pastor (Barcelona)
FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION
- Have there been biblical texts that have helped you discover the Lord’s call?
- Who has been the “Ananias” of your vocational path?
- Have you had and do you still have spiritual accompaniment today in your missionary life?
- Do you value personal accompaniment?
- Write and narrate your encounter with your vocational text.
“Technological society has succeeded
in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure,
but it has great difficulty in generating joy.”
(Paul VI, Gaudete in domino)